News World – AU – New Zealand’s euthanasia bill set to be approved after referendum

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New Zealanders have been urged to vote’ yes’ or ‘no’ on a bill allowing the terminally ill to end their own life

Auckland, New Zealand – New Zealand voters are expected to have voted ‘yes’ in a referendum to legalize euthanasia when preliminary results are announced on Friday, underscoring continued support for the measure among the public and the support from newly returned Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

Polls show the legislation, one of two referendums submitted to voters in this month’s general election, is over 60% A ‘yes’ vote will mean New Zealand will join a small group of nations and territories, including the Netherlands and Canada, which have legalized assisted dying

The road to the end-of-life choice bill, which ran alongside the elections, started five years ago with lawyer Lecretia Seales

After being diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, Seales really wanted to stay alive, but her husband, Matt Vickers, says he is frustrated with the lack of personal autonomy of people dealing with terminal illness and by lack of political will to tackle the problem

Seales took a case to court arguing that euthanasia should not be construed as suicide under the crimes law because it was not a matter of life or death, but whether a person suffered on the way to inevitable death

She also argued that it was her right not to be subjected to cruel or degrading treatment under the Bill of Rights Act

Seales did not win her case and died in 2015, hours after her family received a negative judgment from the Wellington High Court

« The case put the issue in the spotlight and I don’t think New Zealanders were ready for the case to be the end of the story, » said Vickers, who continued the campaign of his wife after her death

« Whatever the outcome, New Zealanders had the chance to express themselves, which is fantastic, » he said. « Whether you are for or against – anyway – there has been a lot of discussion The whole process has been incredibly positive »

The legislation, which automatically becomes law if the referendum is passed, allows a doctor to administer or prescribe a lethal dose of the drug to competent adults suffering unbearably from a terminal illness that would likely end their life. life within six months

Among the more than 45 guarantees that must be respected, the person must ask to end his life voluntarily and directly and may not want to end his life only because of his advanced age or his handicap Two doctors should accept the decision

Heather Gregory’s husband committed suicide when the pain from liver cancer he had endured for 10 years got too much and palliative care could not reduce his suffering

Gregory suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her husband’s suicide and says she continues to experience anxiety six years later She believes a legal right to euthanasia would have made it less traumatic

« It wasn’t meant to be like this If there had been a choice of a safe option, he could have asked to end his life when he was ready. We could have avoided what was a traumatic experience for me and my children « 

Heather Gregory’s husband Richard took his own life when he could no longer cope with the pain of advanced liver cancer She says legalized euthanasia would have been less traumatic [Provided] Michelle Kaufman is opposed to the bill on euthanasia [Provided]

A practicing Catholic, she has always been passionate about life issues – from conception to death

But her stance on euthanasia was also shaped by the experience of a friend who survived her terminal 10-year prognosis

Kaufman says if euthanasia had been possible her friend wouldn’t have had this extra time

« Doctors are wrong, » she said « Human life is such a precious gift that you should be there and be cared for until you naturally leave this world The Latin word for compassion is to walk with a other in his time of suffering When you walk, you don’t kill them « 

Stuart Armstrong has been told he will be no more than 58, but this year he celebrated his 60th birthday He has an aggressive form of prostate cancer that spreads to his bones For him, helps him dying is a matter of choice

« If I meet the long list of criteria and I’m still doing well, I just won’t do it. When things get dreadful I want to die on horseback with my wife next to me and surrounded by friends and family I want to die on my terms

Stuart Armstrong has aggressive prostate cancer He wants the chance to die on his own terms [Provided] « I also want to limit the stress of my friends and family who see me in pain There is no of dignity in there I don’t believe in God, but for those who do, they can suffer for their God if they wish, but it is not for me « 

Researcher Jessica Young, who is working on a doctorate in assisted dying, said terminally ill people who participated in her study were happy to have an option

Participants found solace in asking the agency to choose when and how they died and felt that the status quo was decided by those who were not at the end of their lives

“A lot of the research has been done with healthy people and not at the end of life,” Young said. “It’s fine for healthy adults to discuss the issue, but until ‘until you die you don’t know what it looks like « 

While opponents of euthanasia fear that the most vulnerable will be harmed or that healthy people will opt for euthanasia, international research suggests there is no widespread abuse of the practice said Young

According to data collected in the Netherlands and the US state of Oregon, assisted dying does not increase risks for those classified as vulnerable – which includes the elderly, women, people without health insurance and people with disabilities

In New Zealand, where 165% of the population is Maori, some have rejected euthanasia as interfering with the sacred transition between life and death, says Selah Hart, CEO of Hāpai te Hauora (Māori Public Health )

« There is an understanding and connectivity with spirits and gods where we recognize the death of any individual as a natural process which should not be altered »

Auckland University of Technology Maori Associate Professor Ella Henry notes that there are also broader concerns about equitable access to health care for Maori

« We have seen our people die an average of 10 years earlier than traditional groups because of the kinds of diseases and health problems that are a lifelong consequence of colonial history, » she said. / p>

Jacinda Ardern, who was fired as Prime Minister in a landslide victory earlier this month, backed the [Marty Melville / AFP] bill « Whether it was because of the loss of a economic foundation that we once had which means that we are more likely to live in poverty and are overrepresented in some of the worst social indicators This means that we do not have the same access to health care and that we are vulnerable to suffering for longer periods « 

Despite mistrust of the system, polls recently published by Curia Market Research show 53% of people support euthanasia in the seven Maori electorates This follows research undertaken by Horizon that found 72% of Maori said they would vote for change

The final referendum result will be confirmed on November 6 and a ‘yes’ vote will give the government until October 2021 to implement the changes

Hart says education will be crucial to ensure legislation is fully understood by all New Zealand families, including Maori

« Managers need to support our people so they don’t fall through the cracks, which is traditionally the case with most policy changes, » Hart said

When someone wants to die in the Netherlands, Bert Keizer is often the man they call

A 17-year-old in Belgium became the first minor to be granted the right to die

As Quebec debates euthanasia, we ask if people should have the choice of when and how they die

Referendum, New Zealand, Kiwi, End of Life Choice Act 2019

World news – AU – New Zealand euthanasia bill set to be approved after referendum

Source: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/10/29/new-zealand-set-to-vote-yes-in-euthanasia-referendum

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