Nathaniel Centre briefs for parishes on End of Life Choice Act referendum

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The Catholic bishops' Nathaniel Centre for Bioethics is providing a series of weekly briefs for parish newsletters about the End of Life Choice Act Referendum, one of two referendums being held alongside the October 17 General Election.

The second brief has been produced for newsletters dated this Sunday 20 September.

It says:

Be informed about the End of Life Choice Act Referendum:

• The End of Life Choice Act provides access to an assisted death for those with less than six months to live. Yet any prognosis, especially as long as six months, is a guess. Overseas research shows that the choice of euthanasia is not driven by pain but by a range of personal reasons, including the fear of being a burden to their families or society.

• The End of Life Choice Act has no mandatory stand-down or cooling off period (as in other countries) - under the End of Life Choice Act, a person could be dead less than four days after diagnosis, and be under no obligation to inform their families or carers of their decision. The process does not even require the presence of an independent witness.

The EOLC Act is badly drafted and seriously flawed. Whatever one’s views about the idea of euthanasia, it is not ‘compassion’ to vote for a dangerous law.



The first brief was produced for newsletters dated Sunday, 13 September.

It says:

Be informed about the End of Life Choice Act Referendum

• The End of Life Choice Act is not an option of ‘last resort’. It will not just apply to the ‘exceptionally difficult cases’. It does not require that a person first make use of available treatments or counselling, nor that they first receive palliative care. A person does not need to be in physical pain.

• If euthanasia becomes legal in NZ, people will access it because they think they lack other choices.  Even though quality palliative care is effective, there is no corresponding legal right to access palliative care. Under current law, people can already say ‘no’ to treatments and can receive whatever level of pain relief they need. These days, no-one need die in pain.

The EOLC Act is badly drafted and seriously flawed. Whatever one’s views about the idea of euthanasia, it is not ‘compassion’ to vote for a dangerous law.

See www.riskylaw.nz or www.votesafe.nz or https://carealliance.org.nz or www.nathaniel.org.nz

Authorised by John Kleinsman, 15 Guildford Terrace, Thorndon, Wellington