“The End of Life Choice Bill has always been a safe bill as it was designed in line with international Best Practice, contains numerous safeguards and was considered “tightly circumscribed” by the Attorney-General.”
“This SOP has been developed in consultation with Members of Parliament and a range of organisations to allay valid concerns and I am confident that this SOP will receive support from the greatest number of Members of Parliament to ensure a safe and efficient passage of the Bill through Committee of the whole House.”
“I am asking those who support giving compassion and choice to New Zealanders suffering at the end of their life to support these amendments, and New Zealand First’s proposed referendum amendment, while opposing all others. This course of action will ensure a coherent policy outcome and a straightforward Committee of the whole House stage for the bill.
“Some supporters may be disappointed that this SOP will create one of the most conservative assisted dying regimes in the world, but I have listened to concerns from supporters and opponents and have developed them into a high-quality amendment that compliments the Bill as introduced.”
In summary, the major changes are:
• To restrict the Bill only to those with a terminal illness, judged by two doctors independent of each other, to be likely to end the person’s life within six months.
• Explicitly stating, for the avoidance of all doubt, that a person is not eligible for assisted dying by reason only that the person has a disability of any kind, is suffering from any form of mental illness or mental disorder or is of an advanced age.
• To include a more detailed criteria for the assessment of a person’s mental competency.
• Explicitly stating that a health practitioner must not initiate a discussion about assisted dying with any patient or suggest to any patient that the person should exercise the option of assisted dying.
• Explicitly stating for the avoidance of all doubt that no person can choose to have an assisted death through an expression in an advanced directive, will, contract, or other agreement, or through a welfare guardian acting for that person.
• Providing for the eligible person, as long as they retain competency, to be able to change the date and time of the administration of medication for a period of up to six months.
The SOP can be found here.
These amendments do indeed make the proposed regime extremely narrow and conservative.
No one can be found eligible for euthanasia unless two independent doctors both certify the person is likely to die within six months. In fact to qualify the person must meet all the following criteria:
- Be aged 18 years or older
- Be a citizen or permanent resident
- suffer from a terminal illness likely to end their life within six months
- be in an advanced state of irreversible decline in physical capability
- experiences unbearable suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner that the person considers tolerable
- is competent to make an informed decision about assisted dying
Now again to qualify you must meet all of the above, not one or some of them. So again this is a very narrow and conservative regime proposed.
I hope David Seymour’s amendments are adopted, so that the bill will get supported at third reading.