No room for error on assisted dying

NewsRoom 10 July 2020
Family First Comment: An important commentary….
“I read headlines stating the majority of public (63%) support legalising euthanasia, according to the poll. To the untrained eye, that looks like some strong evidence that the End of Life Choice Act (EOLC Act) is a done deal. But to me it just smacks of the same shallow approach to this vote that many are tempted into making. Hold that poll up against other polls that show 74% of Kiwis don’t know we can already turn off life support, 70% incorrectly think the EOLC Act will legalise the choice not to be resuscitated (which is already legal), and 75% thought it would only be available when all other treatments have been tried… so I wonder what information we are basing our poll voting on?

Most Kiwis aren’t aware that the end of life choice act is not a concept they’ll be voting for, but specific, unmovable legislation. And if we make a mistake, death is a heavy penalty, writes Caralise Trayes. 

A new Colmar Brunton poll revealed last weekend doesn’t do any favours in helping people recognise the binding referendum question they will actually be asked at this year’s election. It only reinforces the point that Kiwis aren’t being equipped to make an informed vote.

I read headlines stating the majority of public (63 percent) support legalising euthanasia, according to the poll. To the untrained eye, that looks like some strong evidence that the End of Life Choice Act (EOLC Act) is a done deal. But to me it just smacks of the same shallow approach to this vote that many are tempted into making.

Hold that poll up against other polls that show 74 percent of Kiwis don’t know we can already turn off life support, 70 percent incorrectly think the EOLC Act will legalise the choice not to be resuscitated (which is already legal), and 75 percent thought it would only be available when all other treatments have been tried… so I wonder what information we are basing our poll voting on?

Us Kiwis need to know we will in fact be voting on a very specific piece of legislation; not the concept of euthanasia. If we vote ‘yes’ in the binding referendum, the law is passed and active. No changes or adjustments can be made to this Act. So we should be examining the piece of law in front of us. However hard it is, we must put aside our view on the topic of assisted dying, and check this is the right law for the job.

We need to carefully assess and analyse this law to ensure it allows the autonomy to choose – something that many of us seek, while protecting those who shouldn’t have access, for one reason or another. And there’s no space for error – if we get it wrong, death is a big penalty.
READ MORE: https://www.newsroom.co.nz/no-room-for-error-on-assisted-dying
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