New Zealand’s decision to legalize euthanasia puts the country on a “dangerous path” and brings “a new and unwelcome dynamic” into the lives of those facing terminal illnesses, according to says the ethics expert for the country’s Catholic bishops.
A referendum on the issue was run alongside the Oct. 17 general election – results were released on Oct. 30, showing voters supported introducing euthanasia by a majority of 65.2 percent to 33.8 percent.
The referendum was on legislation which had already passed New Zealand’s parliament: This means the End of Life Choice Act 2019 must come into force by Nov. 6, 2021.
“We have to accept that we are about to cross a rubicon – a line of no return,” said Dr. John Kleinsman, the head of the Nathaniel Centre for Bioethics, a thinktank established by the New Zealand bishops’ conference.
“This result goes against the tide of opinion worldwide with 33 jurisdictions around the world having rejected similar laws in the last five years, including the UK and Scotland, because of the risks it poses for vulnerable people,” he said in an Oct. 30 statement.
In the build-up to the referendum, New Zealand’s Catholic Church has pointed to problems with the proposed legislation, which the bishops said should even concern those who support euthanasia, including the fact there is no requirement for a person to talk about their decision with a trusted family member or friend; no mandatory cooling off period as in other countries – a person could be dead less than four days after diagnosis; no need for independent witnesses; a lack of safeguards and process for detecting coercion as well as depression; and no requirement that a person be competent at the time they make the final decision to take the lethal drugs.
Read more at Crux