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12 March 2016

Huntington's sufferer Rachel Rypma: 'Let me die'

Rachel Rypma​ celebrated her 40th birthday last August, but is adamant she does not want a 41st.

At 24, the Christchurch woman discovered she had the neurodegenerative genetic disorder Huntington's Disease. At the time, she lived in Sydney with her partner, Gabe Rypma, pregnant and full of hope. Today, she lives alone in a care home in Christchurch and wants to die. She wants people to know what it is like for her, and hear her plea. More... (Stuff.co.nz)

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24 January 2016

Should we be able to choose when to die?

New Zealanders have a week left to let Parliament know their views on the deeply polarising issue of voluntary euthanasia.

Lecretia Seales' legal challenge has led to some politicians pushing for a new law to allow doctors to help end the life of certain patients, and Parliament's health committee has launched an inquiry and called for public feedback.

Nicholas Jones explores the background of the debate in New Zealand so far. More... (NZ Herald)

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20 January 2016

Quebec announces first state-sanctioned death by euthanasia

The first case of legal euthanasia in Canada has been announced by authorities in Quebec. The patient, whose condition was not disclosed, was given a lethal injection in a Quebec City hospital after a change in provincial law in December.

A spokeswoman for the health and social services centre said it was not clear if it was the only state-sanctioned death under the new laws because Quebec does not currently keep such statistics. It comes as the Supreme Court of Canada decided on Friday to allow doctor-assisted suicide across the country under certain circumstances, while giving the government more time to pass a law governing the practice. More... (The Daily Mail)

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17 January 2016

Euthanasia campaigner appeals to public for support

The euthanasia debate has fired up again with an alliance of religious and medical groups urging caution after a euthanasia campaigner called for more submissions to Parliament in support of a change in the law. Following a petition to Parliament to consider voluntary euthanasia, its health select committee is taking public submissions on the matter, and they close in two weeks on February 1.

Matt Vickers, whose wife Lecretia Seales died from a brain tumour while campaigning for euthanasia, is calling on people to make a submission. More... (One News)

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23 December 2015

Seales' Husband Welcomes New Palliative Care Guidelines

Media Release
Lecretia's Choice
23 December 2015
For Immediate Release

Matt Vickers, widower of the late Lecretia Seales, has concurred with Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and welcomed Te Ara Whakapiri: Principles and Guidance for the Last Days of Life, which was published by the Ministry of Health on Monday. He also expressed admiration for the government’s $76m in funding for palliative care in the 2015 budget.  But he has warned that neither of these initiatives address all end-of-life issues.

Mr Vickers said: “In Seales v Attorney General, Justice Collins ruled that palliative care can not help all dying patients. Both the plaintiff and defendant’s witnesses in the case were agreed on this, some of whom appear as authors of Te Ara Whakapiri. There are a few for whom palliative care will be of little or no benefit. Assisted dying legislation would complement palliative care, so that those that cannot be helped by it have better options than starving to death or being terminally sedated to avoid pain.”

“It’s those that palliative care can help the least that need assisted dying legislation the most.”

Mr Vickers said: “It is good that the Health Select Committee is investigating end of life issues, because Lecretia’s case raised an important question: what do we do for those patients that palliative care can’t help? What choices are they entitled to? Those questions are not answered by these guidelines. But those questions deserve answers.”

Ends

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19 December 2015

Lecretia Seales named New Zealander of the Year

From the New Zealand Herald:

"Lecretia Seales is our New Zealander of the Year because of what she did in the last act of her life. She was a private person who stepped into the limelight to ask the courts to give her the right to die. She has gone now but may have left her legacy.

"Where does her story begin? In March, dying of brain cancer, Seales asked the High Court to give her the legal right for a doctor to help end her life. She wanted the right to choose to not die a painful death. On June 5, soon after being told that her court bid was unsuccessful, Seales died of her illness. She was 42." More... (NZ Herald)

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11 December 2015

Quebec's assisted dying law comes into effect today

Patients near the end of their lives can now have access to medical aid in dying in Quebec. The Canadian province's end-of-life care bill, which was adopted in the National Assembly in June 2014, went into effect at midnight. But the issue remains contested, with a Court of Appeal ruling due next week. More... (CBC News)

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16 October 2015

NBR poll strongly favours Assisted Dying

NBR member subscribers have shown strong support for David Seymour’s assisted dying Bill.  In the NBR poll, 68% of respondents were in favour of the Bill, 18% were against, 7% were neutral and 7% were unsure about it.  These results were similar to the commissioned poll from Curia, of 2,800 people, which showed 66% in favour of assisted dying, 20% against, and 11% neutral. More... (NBR)

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