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A Fatal law with fatal flaws (1)

At the general election in September 2020, all New Zealanders will be asked to vote in a referendum on the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide in NZ.

The question is: ‘Do you support the End of Life Choice Act 2019 coming into force?’

The Care Alliance is made up of a range of organisations, including key providers of end-of-life palliative care in New Zealand. We believe that this Act is unsafe, unnecessary, and unwise. We know that there are effective, safer alternatives to relieve end-of-life pain and other suffering.

We urge you to vote NO in the referendum:

‘I do not support the End of Life Choice Act coming into force.’

Our Position

Unsafe

The End of Life Choice Act 2019 lacks adequate safeguards against wrongful deaths. 

Unwise

The End of Life Choice Act 2019 will fundamentally change our societal attitudes towards compassion for the worse.

Unnecessary

We can address end-of-life suffering without using lethal doses of drugs. There is hope, not for cure, but for relief.

Understanding the End of Life Choice Act 2019

The End of Life Choice Bill was passed in Parliament in November 2019, and then became the End of Life Choice Act 2019.  It seeks to make euthanasia and  assisted suicide legal in New Zealand. The Act will only come into force if a majority of electors voting in the upcoming referendum agree to support it. If a majority vote against it, then assisted suicide and euthanasia will remain illegal in New Zealand. 

Not Dead Yet Aotearoa – Latest Press Release: Act Party euthanasia attack on Disability Rights Commissioner “desperate”

Dr Sinead Donnelly outlines how 1600 New Zealand doctors have signed a letter against the introduction of euthanasia, joining more than 9 million physicians worldwide from 114 countries who believe that “there is no place for a doctor to intentionally end the life of another person”.

New Zealand’s euthanasia Act is a step into the unknown for disabled people: “Society is full of negative, biased and discriminatory attitudes and behaviours, so that people think disabled lives are less worthy.”

Our Alliance

The only organisation in New Zealand with the collective expertise that focuses on euthanasia, assisted suicide, and end of life care.

Suicide Risks

In 2019, mental health experts and researchers wrote an open letter to MPs highlighting the risk that introducing assisted dying would increase suicides.

20 New Zealanders share their views on care, community and the End of Life Choice Act.

#committedtocare​

Check out the latest videos...

Justice Select Committee Submissions

The NZ public made 38,707 submissions on the End of Life Choice bill. 90.2% of the submissions were opposed. Read more about the key statistics and themes that emerged.

Doctors Say No

Doctors Say No is an open letter signed by more than 1620 doctors in New Zealand who are opposed to the End of Life Choice Act. 

Find out what the End of Life Choice Act is about and what it means for New Zealand.

Take a look at the position of the Alliance and what informs that.

Read submissions made by Care Alliance members to the Justice Committee.

Expert letter highlights risk of assisted dying increasing suicides

Mental Health experts and researchers have written an open letter to MPs highlighting the risk of assisted dying increasing suicides. 

In the press release, spokesperson Dion Howard “says he has first-hand experience of his young clients using the same justifications for their suicidal inclinations as euthanasia advocates.”

“We feel a professional responsibility to present overseas statistical evidence regarding the relationship between assisted dying and suicide rates, the evidence is not conclusive because no-one has yet done the research and it is complex, but there is suggestive evidence which indicates that, over time, as the rates of assisted dying increase, there is a corresponding increase in suicide rates.”

“It’s a critical issue here in New Zealand because we have some of the highest suicide rates in the world, particularly for Māori, and they are still rising.”

The group want MPs to wait until more research is done before considering a law change.

“It is too risky to legislate for euthanasia or assisted suicide in New Zealand until evidence can show there’s no causal effect on New Zealand’s already high suicide levels.”

Doctors’ Open Letter Gets 1,500th Signature

The ‘Doctors Say No’ Open Letter opposing euthanasia now has 1,626 signatures.

The Open Letter states that ‘Doctors want no part in assisted suicide’, noting the World Medical Association and the New Zealand Medical Association positions that “physician assisted suicide and euthanasia are unethical, even if they were made legal.”

Dr Donnelly says that the End of Life Choice Act 2019 “only includes doctors to provide a cloak of medical legitimacy. Killing is not caring. It does not require any medical skills, it just requires the abandonment of medical ethics. Please leave doctors out of it so that we can focus on caring for our patients.

She has a simple message to New Zealanders thinking about how they will vote in the referendum: “Please Vote No. Leave doctors to focus on saving lives and providing real care to the dying.”

View the ‘Doctors Say No’ Open Letter here.

Over 90% of Record Number of Submissions Opposed End of Life Choice Bill

A full analysis of all 38,707 submissions to the Justice Select Committee showed that 90.2 percent opposed the End of Life Choice Bill. This was a record number of submissions made for any bill before the House. They painted a heart-felt and deeply human picture of the views held by many New Zealanders who considered the implications of legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide, and had sufficient strength of feeling to write in and make their views known.

The Care Alliance believes that these submissions provide a mountain of evidence showing that legalising euthanasia is unnecessary, unwise and dangerous.

Talking About Dying

“We want to support New Zealanders to have more conversations about death in the hope they might worry about it less.”

Find out more about Hospice NZ’s campaign  ‘We need to talk about dying’.
 
Watch the full video series here.

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