Submissions close at midnight for controversial End of Life Choice Bill

Submissions close at midnight for controversial End of Life Choice Bill
Photo credit: Getty.

Tuesday is the final day for public submissions on the End of Life Choice Bill, having already broken records with over 14,000 entries as of last week.

Introduced by Act Party Leader David Seymour at the end of 2017, the bill passed its first reading 76 votes to 44 and if made law, would allow for human euthanasia in certain circumstances.

The Bill's policy statement says:

"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 would allow for New Zealand citizens of 18 years and older to choose an assisted death if they meet the following criteria:

  • They suffer a terminal illness or other medical condition that is likely to end their life within 6 months

  • A grievous and irremediable medical condition

  • They are in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability

  • Experiences unbearable suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner that he or she considers tolerable

  • They have the ability to understand the nature of assisted dying; and the consequences for him or her of assisted dying

As the Bill currently stands, a person choosing euthanasia would have to undergo an assessment by two doctors and potentially a third specialist, followed by rigorous checks.

Critics of the Bill have said it's too broad and doesn't adequately address mental health issues such as depression, meaning a patient could feasibly try to be euthanized because of their depression or anxiety.

Mr Seymour spoke to Newshub Nation about the Bill last week and addressed some of these concerns saying:

"There are people out there concerned about the perception that someone with mental illness could be euthanized."

Mr Seymour said he believes the Bill already addresses mental health adequately but said that perhaps an amendment will be suggested by the select committee that says "You cannot access this Bill for purely Mental Health reasons".

Submissions will be accepted up to midnight tonight.

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