10:50am – What was the End of Life choice referendum all about?
The questions Kiwis were asked at the ballot box was: Do you support the End of Life Choice Act 2019 coming into force?
You can read the Act here. While it has passed through Parliament, it requires more than 50 percent of people to vote ‘yes’ to come into force.
“The Act gives people with a terminal illness the option of requesting assisted dying,” the Government referendum website says.
So who would be eligible for assisted dying? They must:
- be aged 18 years or over
- be a citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand
- suffer from a terminal illness that’s likely to end their life within 6 months
- have significant and ongoing decline in physical capability
- experience unbearable suffering that cannot be eased
- be able to make an informed decision about assisted dying.
“A person would not be eligible to ask for assisted dying if the only reason they give is that they are suffering from a mental disorder or mental illness, or have a disability of any kind, or are of advanced age.”
On the last of those bullet points, it says someone must be able to make an “informed decision”. Who would be considered able to make an informed decision? The Government website says:
Under the Act, a person is able to make an informed decision about assisted dying if they can do ALL of the following things:
- understand information about assisted dying
- remember information about assisted dying in order to make the decision
- use or weigh up information about assisted dying when making their decision
- communicate their decision in some way.
The choice must be freely made, meaning the doctor “must do their best to make sure that a person’s choice to ask for assisted dying is their own”.
“If, at any time, the doctor or nurse practitioner thinks a person is being pressured about their decision, they must stop the process.
“A health practitioner is not allowed to suggest that a person consider assisted dying when providing a health service to them.”
For more details, click here.