Monday, December 6, 2021

New Zealand voluntary euthanasia law enters into force

Medical deaths are now legal in New Zealand. The End-of-Life Choice Act went into effect a year after nearly two-thirds of New Zealanders voted for it.

Proponents believe death assistance laws will give New Zealanders who “suffer terribly at the end of their lives” choice, compassion, and dignity.

To be eligible, a person must have a terminal illness that can end in life within six months. They also need to be able to make an informed decision.

The law came into force on Sunday, a year after the mandatory referendum.

Brook van Velden is the deputy leader of the small New Zealand party ACT, which promoted the voluntary euthanasia law.

She told Radio New Zealand that the measures would benefit the 5 millionth country in the South Pacific.

“This weekend, New Zealand has become a kinder, more compassionate and humane society by allowing people who have been struggling and suffering from their terminal illness in the past few days to empathize with how and when they will leave,” Velden said.

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However, some critics insist that patients with chronic diseases may feel obligated to resort to euthanasia so as not to be a burden to their families.

They also believe that “inadequate palliative care services” must be better resourced so that terminally ill patients receive better care.

Some senior Church leaders have said that while they oppose “intentionally taking a person’s life,” they will still offer help and advice to those who choose to “die help” under the new laws.

The government has appointed three experts, including a medical ethicist, to monitor compliance with the law. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she voted yes in a referendum last year on voluntary euthanasia and legalization of cannabis for entertainment purposes.

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

Nation World News Desk
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