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  • 20 Apr 2021 11:06 AM | EOLC Admin (Administrator)

    In early April, Dutch activist group, CLW launched legal action against the Dutch state arguing that the prohibition on assisted suicide and assisted suicide drugs should be abolished. The Pushback: Towards a New Human Rights Debate is the topic of Exit’s 21st Podcast.


    If self-determination is a fundamental human right, CLW argue and if a nation State keeps this so-called right un-exercisable, it makes the right a false one and the State is, thus, acting unlawfully. The April ‘The Pushback: Towards a New Human Rights Debate’ Podcast seeks to examine the recent constitutional court decisions in Germany and Austria – decisions which serve as the model for the recent Dutch actions of group CLW. We examine, too, the plans of Ultime Liberte in France to follow suite, arguing that ‘fraternity’ a concept enshrined in the 1958 French Constitution is similarly worthy as a basis for a legal challenge towards individual autonomy.



  • 14 Apr 2021 10:08 AM | EOLC Admin (Administrator)

    Andrew Denton investigates the stories behind Victoria’s landmark Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) law: Who seeks to use it, and why? Who are the doctors stepping forward to help them? And how does the Church continue to resist a law it describes as ‘evil’?

    New episodes out Tuesdays and Thursdays.

    More here »



  • 12 Apr 2021 12:19 PM | EOLC Admin (Administrator)

    The End of Life Options Act was approved by Governor Lujan Grisham in the USA state of New Mexico on 8 April 2021. The legislation was originally named for the late Hon. Elizabeth Whitefield, a distinguished and trailblazing member of the New Mexico legal community, who in her later years, after a terminal cancer diagnosis, became a fierce public advocate for dignity in dying. She died in 2018. 

    Read more »


    Judge Elizabeth Whitfield and her husband.


  • 29 Mar 2021 10:44 PM | EOLC Admin (Administrator)

    Monday, 29 March 2021, 9:04 am

    End-of-Life Choice Society President Dr Mary Panko is pleased to see that the percentage of New Zealand doctors willing to provide assisted dying services has increased from 24% in 2018 to 30% in 2021. “This was anticipated, as it happens in every jurisdiction where assisted dying is legalised”, she said. “As doctors begin to realise that some of their patients may request active assistance to die under circumstances of intractable, irreversible suffering, they begin to prepare themselves to assist.”

    In March 2018, the NZ Doctor publication commissioned a survey by Horizon to determine the level of support among doctors for providing assisted dying services. The results showed that 24% would be willing to provide life-ending medication to an eligible patient for self-administration while 12% would be willing to directly administer the medication to the patient.

    But a survey of 1,900 doctors by the Ministry of Health in March 2021 shows the number of possibly or definitely willing doctors has risen to 30%.

    “The Society is working with Minister of Health Andrew Little during the establishment phase of the regulation,” said Dr Panko. “We want to ensure that fully protective safeguards are in place and also that access to the service is fairly and equitably distributed.”

    “Given the tightness of the eligibility criteria, we anticipate that only about 5% of patients will qualify for assisted dying. It may be that fewer than that will request it. So we believe, along with Minister Little, that an adequate workforce will be found.”

    Listen to EOLC President Mary Panko speaking on RNZ »

  • 24 Mar 2021 4:53 PM | EOLC Admin (Administrator)

    Man-of-the-hour Tasmanian MP Mike Gaffney was delighted that his voluntary assisted dying bill passed in the Legislative Council on 23 March 2021.  “It’s been a wonderful journey” he said, “as smooth as I could have hoped for”.

    Tasmanian assisted dying bill passes unanimously - Dying with Dignity Western Australia

    His Independent member’s End-of-Life-Choices bill was unanimously passed in 2020 by Tasmania’s Legislative Council (Upper House).   It then went to the Legislative Assembly (Lower House) for further examination.    A number of amendments were made and the bill eventually made its way back to the Council for approval. 

    It is expected to come into force in 18 months’ time.  

    The Tasmanian Act is slightly more permissive than the New Zealand End of Life Choice Act 2019, in that it also gives assisted dying access to those suffering with a neuro-degenerative disease likely to end their life in 12 months or less.  Both Acts allow access to assisted dying for those with other terminal diseases likely to end their life in 6 months or less.

    This was Tasmania’s fourth attempt at passing assisted dying legislation.   After Victoria and Western Australia, Tasmania will now become the third Australian state to adopt assisted dying laws.  



  • 19 Mar 2021 1:29 PM | EOLC Admin (Administrator)

    End of Life Choice Society president, Dr Mary Panko, today congratulated Spanish lawmakers on passing their assisted dying bill into law. “This is the sign of a compassionate society” she said.

    Spain’s legislation is expected to come into force in June. Its eligibility criteria are more liberal than those of the New Zealand End of Life Choice Act which will come into force on 7 November 2021.

    “Religious and far-right political groups have threatened challenges to the Spanish legislation, as expected” said Dr Panko, “even though a 2019 poll indicated 90 percent support for assisted dying legalisation among Spanish citizens. It is the usual case of an ultra-conservative minority attempting to suppress the will of the more progressive majority.”

    Spain follows a number of other European countries where assisted dying is permitted, namely Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

    “The right to die with dignity is an expanding social and medical movement across the world of westernised medicine”, said Dr Panko. “We expect a number of other jurisdictions to legalise assisted dying this year, especially in Australia and the US.”

    ENDS HERE

    Contact:

    Dr Mary Panko

    President, End of Life Choice Society

    Mob: 027 419 7802

    Email: marypanko2@gmail.com

    https://eolc.org.nz


  • 30 Jan 2021 1:52 PM | EOLC Admin (Administrator)

    Source: RTE

    Portugal's parliament has passed a law allowing medically assisted dying, putting the Catholic-majority country on course to become the fourth in Europe to legalise euthanasia.


    Before coming into force the bill must first be signed into law by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, a staunch Catholic and conservative who was re-elected only last weekend.

    However, the president - who has yet to make public his position on the issue - could also either use his veto against the legislation, or refer it to the country's constitutional court for further study.

    The bill was adopted in parliament by 136 votes to 78 with four abstentions - thanks largely to a majority of votes from the ruling Socialist Party which had allowed its MPs to vote freely.

    If the president did decide to veto, a second vote by lawmakers would override it.

    Politicians had approved proposals aimed at changing the law in February, setting up the vote despite a campaign by the Church for a national referendum on the issue.

    Socialist MP Isabel Moreira, a constitutional law expert who helped draft the law, said that it would respect "free choice and every individual's independence".

    The bill legalises access to assisted suicide for adult patients in a situation of "extreme suffering and irreversible damage".

    Several doctors must green-light the procedure, while a psychiatrist would be called in if there are doubts about the patient's ability to make a "free and informed" choice.

    Euthanasia is legal in three European countries - Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg - while others allow terminally ill people to refuse life-maintaining treatment or to have help to die.

    "People deserve the right to be able to choose," retired oncologist Jorge Espirito Santo, who has campaigned for years to make euthanasia legal in Portugal, said before the vote.

    He said he was expecting a "historic day".

    The Catholic Church, which predominates in Portugal, campaigned against the bill both among its own faithful and those of other denominations.

    Its bishops' conference immediately expressed outrage at parliament's approval of the legislation, calling the law an "unprecedented step backwards".

    In December, parliament in neighbouring Spain voted by a wide margin to approve a bill that will allow euthanasia under strict conditions, despite fierce opposition from the Catholic church and conservative parties.


  • 08 Dec 2020 10:41 AM | EOLC Admin (Administrator)

    The Act Party's deputy leader Brooke van Velden had a commanding first day in Question Time on 3 December, highlighting that the Government has a big job implementing the End of Life Choice Act.

    The Hon Andrew Little mentioned the involvement of the Medical Council and the Colleges, but omitted the NZ Medical Assn. The Minister also invited the ACT Party as sponsors of the Act to be involved in the process of set-up.

    Question 1 - Brooke van Velden to the Minister of Health from New Zealand Parliament on Vimeo.


  • 03 Dec 2020 10:53 AM | EOLC Admin (Administrator)

    The Ministry of Justice has announced that the End-of-Life Choice Act will be administered by the Ministry of Health.

    Information about the oversight and monitoring for assisted dying is available on the Ministry of Health website.

    Read more »


  • 27 Nov 2020 9:17 AM | EOLC Admin (Administrator)

    Source: Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand November 2020

    The New Zealand Nurses' Organisation will start drawing up guidelines for nurses over the next 12 months on how to work within the new end-of-life law next year.

    In last month's referendum, 65 per cent voted in favour of the End of Life Choice Act, which will come into effect in November 2021. NZNO policy adviser Sue Gasquoine said now the act would become law,

    NZNO would be launching a research project among members, subject to ethics approval, on what clinical practice support nurses in Aotearoa New Zealand needed when nursing people at the end of life.

    The research findings would inform a member survey, the responses to which would then form the basis of a national nursing framework.

    "A valid framework for Aotearoa New Zealand would need to support nurses work-ing in 'mainstream' end-of-life care and practising te ao Māori," Gasquoine said.

    NZNO had not taken a position on end-of-life legislation, but would support its members to work within the law. That included opting out of providing end-of-life care, which was provided for in the act, Gasquoine said.

    "NZNO's stance on the bill, and now the act, is that while there are members representing the full spectrum of views on end-of-life choice, the concern is to support members to work within the law as they care for patients and their whānau who are making choices about end of life."

    Following NZNO submissions in 2018, nurse practitioners were included among health practitioners who would provide care for people who choose to use the act to end their life, Gasquoine said.

    NZNO hoped to lead or collaborate with organisations such as the Ministry of Health, Nursing Council, College of Nurses Aotearoa and medical colleges to develop guidelines for practitioners. It was also important to brief incoming Minister of Health Andrew Little on the need for nursing input as the Government prepared to implement the act over the next 12 months, she said.

    NZNO acting associate professional services manager Kate Weston said nurses must "absolutely" be represented on the Support and Consultation for End of Life in New Zealand (SCENZ) group. SCENZ will keep records of health professionals willing to participate in assisted dying, maintain standards of care, and provide legal, medical and practical advice to health professionals.

    "Some may be prescribing, but for most it will be in providing the actual care and we must have a voice in what this looks like," Weston said.


Better Off Dead

 – Andrew Denton

Season 2

Andrew Denton investigates the stories behind Victoria’s landmark Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) law: Who seeks to use it, and why? Who are the doctors stepping forward to help them? And how does the Church continue to resist a law it describes as ‘evil’? 

Listen to Season 1 »

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