- New Zealand has voted to authorize euthanasia.
- Its disputants say the law needs sufficient safeguards.
- Euthanasia is licensed in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, while assisted suicide is allowed in Switzerland.
THDNewsDesk: New Zealand has voted to authorize euthanasia in what campaigners have described as “a victory for compassion and kindness.”
Preceding results revealed 65.2% of voters approved the End of Life Choice Act coming into power as a new law.
The law will enable critically ill people with fewer than six months to live the possibility to arrange assisted dying if permitted by two doctors.
Its disputants say the law needs sufficient safeguards.
On Friday, the referendum results declared do not incorporate an evaluated 480,000 votes, including overseas ballots. Hence results won’t surface until November 6. Though, with such sturdy support, the judgment is not expected to alter.
The ballot is requisite and, the law is to be implemented in November 2021.
It will view New Zealand connect a small group of nations, together with the Netherlands and Canada, supporting euthanasia.
What is assisted suicide and euthanasia?
Euthanasia is the act of purposely ending a life to relieve misery, while assisted suicide is the act of consciously helping another person to kill themselves. Between euthanasia and assisted suicide assisted dying would apply to terminally ill people only.
Earlier this month, the plebiscite supporting assisted dying was conducted alongside the general election. In a different non-binding plebiscite held simultaneously, New Zealanders closely refused a proposition to sanction recreational cannabis.
The initial results on the cannabis referendum were 53.1% no and 46.1% yes – though this result may get modified with the addition of special votes.
What was the reaction?
The “yes” result had been foreseen after polls implied strong public backing for the order. The law was also supported by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the opposition leader, Judith Collins.
However, it surfaced due to an emotional, years-long campaign with a firm perspective from both sides of the debate.
For Matt Vickers, who talked about his late wife Lecretia Seales’ battle to authorize supported dying, the result is “a victory for compassion and kindness.”
He stated, “I am grateful that terminally ill New Zealanders will have a say about the ends of their lives.”
Ms. Seales was a lawyer who started a legal demand for the authority to end her life with medical support after she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. But her case was ineffective and, she died of her sickness five years ago, aged 42.
Mr. Vickers urged on with her movement, and in 2016, his book, “Lecretia’s Choice: A Story of Love, Death and the Law,” was printed.
The day before the decision, Mr. Vickers informed the BBC that eventually, his late wife’s purpose was for terminally ill people to have the option that she was not allowed.
He said, “She didn’t want to die. No one does. That’s a popular misconception. The problem was the choice to live had been taken away.” “She wanted a choice on how death happens, so; if things got bad, she could end the suffering at the time she wanted.”
Ms. Seales’s case proceeded to perform a crucial role in increasing consciousness about assisted dying, pushing New Zealand politicians to discuss the subject.
What is the new law?
The End of Life Choice Act was enacted by parliament in 2019 after years of fiery parliamentary debate and a record amount of public submissions.
New Zealand to hold a plebiscite on euthanasia
Though, there was a clause that it would first be put to a poll, only coming into power if over 50% of voters ticked “yes.”
There are several measures a person must attend to ask for assisted dying-
- bearing a terminal illness that’s likely to cease their life within six months,
- revealing a significant deterioration in physical capacity,
- being able to make a notified judgment about assisted suicide.
The legislation sanctions a doctor or a nurse to control or prescribe a fatal dose of medication. The medication must be taken under an assigned doctor after meeting all the requirements.
The law also states a person cannot be suitable for assisted dying under advanced age, mental illness, or disability alone.
What do disputants reply to?
While there is extensive support for euthanasia reform, there has also been a vociferous opposition.
As MPs voted on the bill last year, reformers had brought posters asserting “assist us in living not to die,” and euthanasia is not the solution” outside parliament.
Euthanasia-Free NZ, a group that campaigned to choose “no,” has stated that euthanasia professes a peril to society’s welfare. Amidst its interests are that the legalization of assisted dying would oppose and threaten suicide prevention.
Others have apprehensions about people with chronic conditions, probably feeling compelled to use euthanasia to evade burdening their families.
On Friday, Euthanasia-Free NZ stated it was “disappointed that the New Zealand public voted to pass a flawed euthanasia law.” In a statement, it added that parliament “could have made this law safer” by making further reformations.
Which countries support euthanasia?
In New Zealand, the poll results will be scrupulously observed by advocates for and against assisted dying all around the world.
By choosing “yes,” the country is entering a small group of nations and territories that have established similar laws.
Euthanasia is licensed in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, while assisted suicide is allowed in Switzerland.
Various states in the United States and the Australian state of Victoria have also made assisted dying statutory.