End of Life Choice Act 2019

  (Redirected from End of Life Choice Bill)

The End of Life Choice Act 2019 is a Act of Parliament in New Zealand that seeks to give people with a terminal illness the option of requesting assisted dying.[1] ACT New Zealand MP David Seymour entered it into the member's bill ballot on 14 October 2015.[2] The bill passed its first reading on 13 December 2017, with 76 votes in favour, 44 opposed; its second reading on 26 June 2019, with 70 votes in favour, 50 opposed;[3][4] and its third reading on 13 November 2019, with 69 votes in favour, 51 opposed.[5] A binding referendum will be held in conjunction with the 19 September 2020 general election on whether the act should come into force.[6] If the majority vote in favour of the Act, it will come into force 12 months after the official result is declared. If the majority vote against the Act (or there is a tie) and another referendum is not held, the Act will expire on 16 November 2024, five years to the day after it received the royal assent.[7]

End of Life Choice Act 2019
Coat of arms of New Zealand.svg
New Zealand Parliament
Citation2019 No 67
Territorial extentNew Zealand
Enacted byHouse of Representatives
Passed13 November 2019
Royal assent16 November 2019
Legislative history
BillEnd of Life Choice Bill
Bill citation269-3
Bill published on8 June 2017
Introduced byDavid Seymour
First reading13 December 2017
Second reading26 June 2019
Third reading13 November 2019
Status: Not yet in force

Contents of the billEdit

Eligibility for assisted dyingEdit

The End of Life Choice Bill allows New Zealand citizens or permanent residents aged 18 or older to request assisted dying, provided that they suffer from a terminal illness that is likely to end their life within 6 months, and are in an advanced state of irreversible decline in physical capability; and experience unbearable suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner that the person considers tolerable; and has the ability to understand the nature of assisted dying; and is competent to make an informed decision.[8]

Process of assisted dyingEdit

A person who wishes to have an assisted death, and is eligible under the above criteria, must inform their attending medical practitioner. The medical practitioner must complete a prescribed form after talking to the patient about their illness, the nature of assisted dying, alternative options for end-of-life care, and numerous other matters.[9] Once the request has been confirmed, the patient must sign and date the prescribed form in the presence of the practitioner.[10] Once the form has been completed the attending medical practitioner, and following that an independent medical practitioner, must confirm that the person is eligible for assisted dying.[11][12] If there is a disagreement between the two practitioners, or if it is recommended by either of the practitioners, a third opinion must be reached by an independent specialist appointed by the SCENZ Group (Support and Consultation for End of Life in New Zealand Group).[13] Following this, the patient requesting assisted dying must choose the medication and method of delivery that will end their life.[14] Once the medication has been administered the attending medical practitioner must complete a prescribed form notifying the registrar at the Ministry of Health that an assisted death has occurred. The registrar must then forward the form to a review committee.[15]

Legislative historyEdit

First readingEdit

Voting at first reading (13 December 2017)[16]
Party Voted for Voted against
National (56)
Labour (46)
NZ First (9) -
Green (8) -
ACT (1) -
Totals 76 44

Justice select committeeEdit

Submissions to the Justice select committee regarding the bill ended at midnight on 6 March 2018.[17] The committee reported on the bill on 9 April 2019.[18]

Second readingEdit

Voting at second reading (26 Jun 2019)[19]
Party Voted for Voted against
National (55)
Labour (46)
NZ First (9) -
Green (8) -
ACT (1) -
Independent (1) -
Totals 70 50

12 MPs changed sides between the first and second readings. From Labour, Allan, Russell, Rurawhe, Whaitiri and Wood changed from voting for to voting against, while Williams voted for having previously opposed the bill. From National, Guy, Hipango, Tolley and Walker changed from for to against, while Collins and Yule decided to reverse their opposition. Five National MPs had entered Parliament since the first reading but had no net effect on the result- Willis (for) replaced Joyce (against) which was cancelled out by Bidois (against) replacing Coleman (for).[19]

Committee of the Whole HouseEdit

The Committee of the Whole House started on 31 July 2019. An amendment by David Seymour that limited eligibility to only those with a terminal illness was agreed to. Other amendments put forward by opponents of the bill were rejected.[20]

The End of Life Choice Bill was debated again on 21 August 2019. Parliament voted to accept Seymour's second round of amendments by a vote of 69 to 51. Key amendments include prohibiting a health practitioner from initiating any discussion about assisted dying, giving employment protections for any doctor, nurse, or psychiatrist who objects to taking part in the process on any ground, and a provision for doctors and nurses to stop the process if they suspect any pressure is being applied on the person seeking assisted dying. The amendments by MPs opposed to the bill including National MPs Maggie Barry, Paulo Garcia, Simeon Brown, and Chris Penk were defeated during the debate. Penk's proposal to have tighter provisions against coercion including getting a "sign-off" from a specialist panel was defeated by 71 to 49 votes. MPs also voted 70 to 50 in favour of the End of Life Choice Bill being given a third and final reading later.[21][22][23]

Proposed referendumEdit

On 23 October 2019, the New Zealand Parliament voted by a margin of 63 to 57 to amend the End of Life Choice Bill to include a binding referendum on whether euthanasia should be legalised.[24] New Zealand First Member of Parliament Jenny Marcroft had sponsored the referendum on the grounds that abortion "directly affected the fabric of society" and that "temporarily empowered politicians... alone should not decide on the bill." In response, Labour Member of Parliament Louisa Wall criticised NZ First for placing MPs who supported the bill but opposed the referendum in an "untenable position." She also accused NZ First of using the proposed referendum as a bargaining chip for securing the party's support for the third reading of the End of Life Choice Bill scheduled for November 2019.[25][26]

Parliamentary vote on Jenny Marcroft's call for a referendum on the End of Life Choice Bill [24]
Party Voted for Voted against
National (55)
Labour (46)
NZ First (9) -
Green (8) -
ACT (1) -
Independent (1) -
Totals 63 57

Third readingEdit

On 13 November 2019, the End of Life Choice bill passed its third reading 69 votes in favour and 51 votes opposed. The Bill is being prepared for royal assent.[5][27] In return for New Zealand First's support of the bill through its third reading, the Bill will be decided by the public in a binding referendum at the 2020 New Zealand general election.[6] The End of Life Choice Bill was also amended to only allow a person with "a terminal illness that is likely to end the person's life within six months" to request euthanasia. While Seymour disagreed with the legislation, he supported the amendment in order to maintain the support of the Green Party and several other MPs for a third reading.[28][29]

Voting at third reading (13 November 2019)[27]
Party Voted for Voted against
National (55)
Labour (46)
NZ First (9) -
Green (8) -
ACT (1) -
Independent (1) -
Totals 69 51

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "End of Life Choice Bill (as at 23 October 2019), Explanatory note". New Zealand Legislation: Bills. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  2. ^ Seymour, David. "Seymour lodges assisted dying Bill" (Press release). ACT New Zealand. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Euthanasia bill passes second reading". New Zealand Herald. 26 June 2019. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Euthanasia bill passes second reading in Parliament". Radio New Zealand. 26 June 2019. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  5. ^ a b Henry Cooke (13 November 2019). "MPs vote in favour of End of Life Choice Bill at final reading". Stuff. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Euthanasia bill passes final vote, goes to referendum". The New Zealand Herald. 13 November 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  7. ^ "End of Life Choice Act 2019 No 67, Public Act 2 Commencement – New Zealand Legislation". www.legislation.govt.nz. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  8. ^ ""End of Life Choice Bill (as at 23 October 2019), section 4."". New Zealand Legislation: Bills. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  9. ^ ""End of Life Choice Bill (as at 6 March 2018), section 8."". New Zealand Legislation: Bills. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  10. ^ ""End of Life Choice Bill (as at 6 March 2018), section 9."". New Zealand Legislation: Bills. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  11. ^ ""End of Life Choice Bill (as at 6 March 2018), section 10."". New Zealand Legislation: Bills. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  12. ^ ""End of Life Choice Bill (as at 6 March 2018), section 11."". New Zealand Legislation: Bills. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  13. ^ ""End of Life Choice Bill (as at 6 March 2018), section 12."". New Zealand Legislation: Bills. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  14. ^ ""End of Life Choice Bill (as at 6 March 2018), section 15."". New Zealand Legislation: Bills. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  15. ^ ""End of Life Choice Bill (as at 6 March 2018), section 17."". New Zealand Legislation: Bills. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  16. ^ "Euthanasia bill passes first reading in Parliament". The New Zealand Herald. 17 December 2017. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  17. ^ Hogan, Finn (6 March 2018). "Submissions close at midnight for controversial End of Life Choice Bill". Newshub. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  18. ^ "End of Life Choice Bill: Bill History". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  19. ^ a b Cooke, Henry (26 June 2019). "Euthanasia bill passes second reading". Stuff. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  20. ^ "End of Life Choice Bill- In Committee". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  21. ^ Jancic, Boris (22 August 2019). "Euthanasia bill marches forward as Parliament debates coercion". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  22. ^ "MPs back euthanasia bill revisions: 'This is to alleviate concerns' - David Seymour". Radio New Zealand. 22 August 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  23. ^ Cooke, Henry (21 August 2019). "Euthanasia: Safeguards against coercion inserted into David Seymour's proposed bill". Stuff. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  24. ^ a b "End of Life Choice Bill — In Committee—Clauses 1 and 2". New Zealand Parliament. 23 October 2019. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  25. ^ Jancic, Boris (23 October 2019). "Euthanasia bill to go to referendum after knife-edge vote in Parliament". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  26. ^ Cooke, Henry (23 October 2019). "Euthanasia referendum on the cards after tight vote in Parliament". Stuff. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  27. ^ a b "End of Life Choice Bill — Third Reading". New Zealand Parliament. 13 November 2019. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  28. ^ Cook, Henry (31 July 2019). "David Seymour narrows euthanasia bill to only cover patients with 6 months to live". Stuff. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  29. ^ Jancic, Boris (14 November 2019). "End of Life Choice Bill passes: What it means". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 15 November 2019.

External linksEdit