Editor’s introduction: Regular readers of The NZ Journal of Natural Medicine may recall an article by Auckland woman Donelda Cutforth called “The Many Perils of Assisted Suicide” which featured in issue 31.  One motivation for printing Mrs. Cutforth’s article was that there were select committee hearings on a bill that would legalise euthanasia and medically assisted suicide in New Zealand.  (Act Party MP David Seymour’s “End of Life Choice” bill.)

The text below has been contributed by Renee Joubert, the Executive Officer of Euthanasia Free NZ.  The website and FB page for this organisation is https://euthanasiadebate.org.nz/ and https://www.facebook.com/EuthFreeNZ/ To sign up for updates, this is the link to use: http://eepurl.com/djQsqX.

This Bill (Act Party MP David Seymour’s “End of Life Choice” bill – Ed) proposes to allow doctors to perform euthanasia or assisted suicide using lethal drugs without risking prosecution. (See Key Facts for more details.)

While sold to the public as ‘compassion’, it has profound implications for New Zealand society because it would make death a medical treatment. Medical treatments are ideally administered with consent, but in cases of ‘necessity’ a doctor can do so without consent. The Bill contains a clause making any person immune from civil or criminal prosecution, even if they ignored some of the legal requirements, as long as they claim to have done so “in good faith”. It’s unclear what “good faith” means, if it includes intentionally killing a person. See part 67 of the analysis by Victoria Casey QC

Parliament’s Justice Committee received about 37,000 unique submissions, which is the most submissions Parliament has ever received on any issue to date. A preliminary analysis found that 92% of these submissions are opposed to the Bill

This analysis is being done by the Care Alliance, an umbrella organisation opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide, with members including Hospice New Zealand; The Australian and New Zealand Society for Palliative Medicine; the New Zealand Health Professionals Alliance, Euthanasia-Free NZ and the disability advocacy group Not Dead Yet Aotearoa.

The Justice Committee is due to publish their report on the submissions process by 27 March. As soon as 10 April Parliament may vote on whether the Bill should proceed or be rejected. 

For people who want to contact their MPs on this issue can visit the  website  https://www.defendnz.co.nz for information and contact details –  Ed.


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