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End of Life Choice Act

NZ $35.00
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Publications
GOODWIN Jane LAING Nick
Jane Goodwin
Christchurch Hospital,
Christchurch
Nick Laing
Duncan Cotterill,
Nelson
   

Authors: Jane Goodwin, Nick Laing
Published: 25 August 2021
Pages: 22

Introduction

The End of Life Choice Act 2019 (the Act) gives people experiencing unbearable suffering from a terminal illness the option of legally requesting medical assistance to end their lives, to be known as “assisted dying”.
This paper will discuss the Act and provide legal and medical perspectives on assisted dying, as well as highlighting existing advance care planning options when advising about end-of-life matters. This will help you ensure that your clients are safeguarded with advice and guidance in what will very likely be extremely difficult circumstances.
The Act comes into force on 7 November 2021. Prior to this date, assisting someone to die is a criminal offence under s 179 of the Crimes Act 1961.
The coming into force of the Act comes after a lengthy and somewhat arduous parliamentary journey. It commenced its parliamentary life as a Member’s Bill sponsored by ACT Party leader and MP David Seymour on 14 October 2015. The Bill had its first reading on 13 December 2017 and was referred to the Justice Select Committee. The Committee was unable to reach a consensus to progress the Bill, reporting back on 9 April 2019. Despite this, the Bill passed its second reading on 26 June 2019, and entered the Committee of the Whole House stage starting on 31 July 2019. Various amendments included subjecting the Bill to a binding referendum at the 2020 general election, and it passed its third reading on 13 November 2019. The referendum approved the Bill passing into law by 65.1% to 33.7%.

Content outline

  • Background
  • What is assisted dying?
  • How does the act provide for assisted dying?
  • End of life choice act implementation
  • Overseas perspectives – Canada
  • Advance care planning
View contents page

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