Death in White Coats in Kiwi Land

Source: FSSPX News

Once again, New Zealand stands out for its progressivism: the final results of the referendum on euthanasia have just brought down one of the last safeguards protecting the lives of the most vulnerable patients.

As in other countries, it was the government that took the initiative. In June 2020, the New Zealand Parliament had voted in a second reading for a project allowing terminally ill patients, with less than six months to live, to request “assisted suicide.”

The legislator nevertheless wanted to condition the promulgation of the law, to a popular referendum, skillfully organized on October 17, 2020, in the wake of the victory in the legislative elections of the outgoing Labor Prime Minister, Jessica Arden.

The archipelago’s electoral commission released the final results of the referendum on November 6, and they are final: 65.1% of New Zealanders said “yes” to the decriminalization of euthanasia.

From now on, any adult, judged to be sane, suffering from an incurable disease liable to cause death within six months, and whose suffering is deemed “unbearable,” can apply for assisted suicide.

So many subjective criteria, whose assessment will be left only to two doctors - one who is supposed to be independent - and a psychiatrist, if there is any doubt as to the person’s ability to make this decision: as much to say that one of the last safeguards against the defense of the most vulnerable patients has just fallen, with the blessing of the people of New Zealand.

There is a fear that the situation will soon worsen. Thus, the initial bill provided for access to euthanasia for sick people who are not at the end of their life, but who are in a “serious and irremediable medical situation.” Such an extension could be quickly discussed again by Parliament, in particular during the first assessment of the law, three years after its entry into force.

This scenario of a rapid “slippery slope” is all the more likely as it corresponds to the relaxation of the law as encountered in each of the countries which have so far decriminalized euthanasia.

Broad Opposition From Doctors

This approval contrasts with the significant reluctance expressed by doctors across the country. More than 1,800 physicians have signed the “Doctors Say No” petition expressing their refusal to participate in the voluntary administration of death to their patients.

The law also provides for a conscience clause allowing every doctor to refuse to be involved in euthanasia. Finally, a declaratory judgment pronounced by the High Court of New Zealand in June 2020 confirmed the legitimacy of the general exclusion from the practice of euthanasia within a health establishment, based on the ethics of the institution. This possibility must nevertheless be confirmed by a committee.