November 14, 2019

New Zealand Legislators Advance Assisted Suicide Bill

Edit: This legislation has now passed Parliament with an amendment that requires the public to vote on it in the 2020 General Election.

On Wednesday, the New Zealand Parliament voted 69-51 to advance the End of Life Choice Bill. If passed into law, this would allow terminally ill persons with six or fewer months to live to be euthanized. They could commit assisted suicide or be provided a prescription for a lethal dose of drugs to take themselves. The only other condition is that two doctors agree the person requesting to die is well-informed.

A 51st parliament health committee report regarding similar legislation in 2017 expressed concerns about the legalization of assisted suicide:
“[some participants in the inquiry] cited concern for vulnerable people, such as the elderly and the disabled, those with mental illnesses, and those susceptible to coercion. Others argued that life has an innate value and that introducing assisted dying and euthanasia would explicitly undermine that idea. To do so would suggest that some lives are worth more than others. There were also concerns that, once introduced, eligibility for assisted dying would rapidly expand well beyond what was first intended.”
 Click here to read more.