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Dr Gary Palinda
Unapproved use of an approved drug is often called “off-label” use. This term can mean that the drug is:
Dr Gary Payinda
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.
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 »
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.
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 »
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”.
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.
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.”
Dr Mary Panko
President, End of Life Choice Society
Mob: 027 419 7802
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.
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.
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