World News – GB – Euthanasia in New Zealand: aid in dying to be legal for terminally ill people


css-14iz86j-BoldText {font-weight: bold;} New Zealand voted to legalize euthanasia in what campaigners called « a victory for compassion and kindness »

Preliminary results showed 652% of voters supported the entry into force of the End of Life Choice Act as a new law

The law will allow terminally ill people under six months of age to have the option of choosing assisted dying if approved by two doctors

The referendum results announced on Friday do not include around 480,000 special votes, including overseas votes, so the final result will not be confirmed until November 6 But with such strong support, the decision shouldn’t change

The referendum is binding and the law is expected to enter into force in November 2021

New Zealand to join a small group of countries, including the Netherlands and Canada, that allow euthanasia

The referendum on assisted dying took place alongside the general election earlier this month In a separate non-binding referendum held at the same time, New Zealanders narrowly rejected a proposal to legalize cannabis recreational

The preliminary results of the cannabis vote were 531% no and 461% yes – although this result may be subject to change when special votes are counted

The ‘yes’ verdict was anticipated after polls suggested strong public support for the law, also backed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Opposition Leader Judith Collins

But it was the result of a moving campaign spanning several years with strong opinions on both sides of the debate

For Matt Vickers, who has taken charge of his late wife Lecretia Seales’ fight to legalize assisted dying, the result is « a victory for compassion and kindness »

« I am grateful to terminally ill New Zealanders for having a say in the end of their lives, » he told the BBC after the announcement

Ms Seales was a lawyer who sued for the right to end her life with medical assistance after being diagnosed with a brain tumor But her case failed and she died of her illness five years ago at the age of 42

M Vickers continued his campaign and in 2016 his book, « Lecretia’s Choice: A Story of Love, Death and the Law », was published

The day before the result, M Vickers told the BBC that ultimately his late wife’s goal was for terminally ill people to have a choice denied to her

« She didn’t want to die Nobody’s doing it This is a popular misconception The problem was that the choice to live had been taken away, » he said « She wanted a choice about how death happened, so if things got worse, she could end the suffering when she wanted « 

Ms Seales’ case then played a central role in raising awareness of assisted dying, prompting New Zealand politicians to tackle the issue

The End-of-Life Choice Act was passed by Parliament in 2019 after years of heated parliamentary debate and a record number of public submissions

But there was a condition that it would first go to a referendum, only going into effect if more than 50% of voters tick « yes »

A person must meet a number of criteria to apply for assisted dying These include:

The law allows a doctor or nurse to administer or prescribe a lethal dose of medication to be taken under their supervision if all conditions are met

The law also states that a person cannot be eligible for assisted dying due to advanced age, mental illness or disability only

When MPs voted on the bill last year, protesters carried signs that read “Help us live, not die” and “Euthanasia is not the solution” outside of the Parliament

Euthanasia-Free NZ, a group that campaigned to vote ‘no’, said euthanasia posed a threat to society’s well-being Among its concerns, legalizing assisted dying would contradict and would compromise suicide prevention

Others have expressed concerns about people with chronic illnesses feeling potentially compelled to resort to euthanasia to avoid being a burden on their families

On Friday, the euthanasia-free NZ said it was « disappointed that the New Zealand public voted to pass a flawed euthanasia law. » In a statement, he added that the Parliament « could have made this law more secure » by adopting new amendments

The outcome of the New Zealand referendum will be closely watched by supporters for and against assisted dying around the world

By voting « yes », the country joins a small group of nations and territories which have adopted similar legislation

Euthanasia is legal in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, while assisted suicide is allowed in Switzerland

A number of states in the United States and the Australian state of Victoria have also made assisted dying legal

Euthanasia is the act of deliberately ending a life to relieve suffering, while assisted suicide is the act of deliberately helping another person to commit suicide. Unlike euthanasia and assisted suicide, assisted dying would only apply to terminally ill people

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News from the world – GB – New Zealand Euthanasia: Assisted dying to be legal for terminally ill people



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