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Assisted Dying Now Legal In New Zealand After End Of Life Act Takes Effect

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Last October, two-thirds of New Zealanders voted yes (65.1%) in a referendum to enable the End of Life Choice Act to be passed into law. The End of Life Choice Act finally come into effect. On November 7 the legislation comes into force, enabling eligible terminally ill Kiwis to choose to end their lives.

The legislation was put forward by the Act leader David Seymour and his deputy, Brook van Velden, stating that its requirements will be strict. Van Velden stated, “We expect that at the beginning only a few people will ask to access assisted dying and only a few doctors will be willing to be part of the process. However like all laws, over time more people will know that this choice is available and more people will access it and more doctors will provide it.”

New Zealanders have however to meet certain criteria to legally ask for medical assistance to end their lives. To summarise, to be eligible the individual must be:

  • 18 years or above
  • A New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • Suffering from a terminal illness that is likely to end their life within 6 months
  • In an advanced state of irreversible decline in physical capability
  • Experiencing unbearable suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner they consider tolerable and competent to make an informed decision about assisted dying
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