A short extract from the End of Life Choice Bill
This Bill gives people with a terminal illness or a grievous and irremediable medical condition the option of requesting assisted dying.
The motivation for this Bill is compassion. It allows people who so choose, and are eligible under this Bill, to end their lives in peace and dignity, surrounded by loved ones.
The Bill carefully defines those eligible for assisted dying, details a comprehensive set of provisions to ensure this is a free choice, made without coercion, and outlines a stringent series of steps to ensure the person is mentally capable of understanding the nature and consequences of assisted dying.
Who is eligible to request assisted dying?
In this Act, person who is eligible for assisted dying means a person who—
- is aged 18 years or over, and
- is a person who has New Zealand citizenship as provided in the Citizenship Act 1977 or a permanent resident as defined in section 4 of the Immigration Act 2009, and
- suffers from a terminal illness that is likely to end his or her life within 6 months or a grievous and irremediable medical condition, and
- is in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability, and
- experiences unbearable suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner that he or she considers tolerable, and
- has the ability to understand the nature of assisted dying, and
- the consequences for him or her of assisted dying.
Request made for assisted dying
The Bill provides that a person who wishes to have the option of assisted dying must tell the attending medical practitioner. The medical practitioner must:
- give the person the following information -
- the prognosis for the terminal illness or grievous and irremediable medical condition; and
- the irreversible nature of assisted dying; and
- the anticipated impacts of assisted dying; and
- talk with the person about his or her wish at intervals determined by the progress of his or her terminal illness or medical condition; and
- ensure that the person understands his or her other options for end of life care; and
- ensure that the person knows that he or she can change his or her mind at any time; and
- encourage the person to talk about his or her wish with others such as family, friends, and counsellors; and
- ensure that the person knows that he or she is not obliged to talk to anyone; and
- ensure that the person has had the opportunity to talk about his or her wish with those whom he or she chooses; and
- do his or her best to ensure that the person expresses his or her wish free from pressure from any other person by talking with other health practitioners who are in regular contact with the person and talking with members of the person’s family approved by the person; and
- complete the first part of the prescribed form requesting the option of assisted dying by recording the actions he or she took to comply with the above requirements (Part 2, Clause 8).