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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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15 October 2015

Key backing gives boost to euthanasia bill

A push to legalise voluntary euthanasia has been boosted by the Prime Minister's endorsement.

John Key said he would support a new member's bill lodged by Act leader David Seymour yesterday if it was drawn from the ballot. "In all probability if it's drawn I will vote for it," he said.

The Government would not pick up the bill, meaning it could be years before it comes before Parliament. But Mr Key's endorsement could play an important role in changing minds on the contentious issue. More... (The New Zealand Herald)

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14 October 2015

Lecretia's Choice team reacts to David Seymour's Bill

In a press conference earlier today a new Assisted Dying Bill was launched by ACT Party Leader David Seymour. The Bill will likely be submitted into the parliamentary ballot on Thursday. Mr Seymour announced he would be drafting a bill shortly after the judgment was released in June at the conclusion of Seales v Attorney General, where Wellington lawyer Lecretia Seales went to the High Court of New Zealand in an attempt to secure a decision that would not make it a prosecutable offence for her doctor to help her to die, with her consent.

In response to the Bill, Mr Vickers, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, former employer and friend of Ms Seales, and Andrew Butler of Russell McVeagh (lead counsel for Ms Seales in her High Court challenge) said: "We commend the Hon David Seymour for his efforts and the progress he has made on this important cross-party issue. Although Lecretia chose not to align herself with any one political party, she would have supported a serious effort by any parliamentary member to improve the current law. David Seymour's bill is appropriately narrow, has substantial merit and we wish it well.  We also look forward to the report of the Select Committee which is currently considering this issue, and we continue to support that process too."

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14 October 2015

Voluntary Euthanasia Society reacts to David Seymour’s Bill

The Voluntary Euthanasia Society of New Zealand welcomed David Seymour’s Bill as providing “some momentum towards a law change” but it does not go far enough, President Jack Havill said Wednesday.

“Allowing people with terminal illnesses and unbearable suffering to end their own lives in a manner and at a time of their choosing would be a very popular measure, judging by every available poll, and it seems to be only MPs who are holding it back,” Dr Havill said.

“So we congratulate David Seymour for being prepared to submit another bill to Parliament, even though we would have liked to see some provision for End-of-Life Directives, which could ensure people’s verified wishes for their manner of dying are observed, after they have ceased to be able to argue the point with a doctor.

"In the absence of any other bill on this matter however, we give our support to his efforts and will present a comprehensive submission on it should it be drawn from the Parliamentary ballot.”

Dr Havill said VESNZ would be happy for the Select Health Committee to consider Seymour’s bill in parallel with its current enquiry into public attitudes on the issue.

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14 October 2015

Seymour lodges assisted dying Bill

David Seymour, MP for Epsom, has lodged a Bill on assisted dying in Parliament’s Members’ ballot today.

“The End of Life Choice Bill is a response to the anguish faced by a small but significant minority of people with terminal illness or who are grievously and irremediably ill, as they anticipate the prospect of intolerable suffering and the indignity of the final few days and weeks of their lives,” said Mr Seymour.

“The motivation for this Bill is compassion. It allows people who so choose and are eligible under this Bill to end their life in peace and dignity, surrounded by loved ones.

“The Bill carefully defines those eligible for assisted dying. It details a comprehensive set of provisions to ensure this is a free choice made without coercion, and outlines a stringent series of steps to ensure the person is mentally capable of understanding the nature and consequences of assisted dying.

“It is evident from polls that a substantial majority of the public want Parliamentarians to consider assisted dying legislation.

“In fact, an independent poll of 2,800 people which I have commissioned on this issue shows 66% of the public favour allowing assisted dying – 38% strongly in favour – and 20% oppose. Support is remarkably steady across age groups, rural and urban areas, and genders.

“This should give a clear message to Parliamentarians that the public wants this issue addressed. If this Bill is drawn, I hope MPs will support it through its First Reading, so the many complex issues can be considered through the select committee process.”

David Seymour has also launched a website which will act as an information source and campaign hub, at www.lifechoice.org.nz. The Bill can be viewed here. Polling data from Curia can be read here.

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05 October 2015

California Governor Signs Right-to-Die Legislation

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Monday he signed one of the most emotionally charged bills of the year. Brown, a lifelong Catholic and former Jesuit seminarian, announced he signed the legislation after thoroughly considering all opinions and discussing the issue with many people, including a Catholic bishop and two of Brown's doctors. "In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death," the governor wrote in a signing statement that accompanied his signature on the legislation. "I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill.” He added he wouldn't deny that right to others More... (ABC News)

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10 September 2015

California to Become Sixth US State to Allow Euthanasia

California is set to become the sixth American state to approve euthanasia, a controversial issue in the United States fueled by the recent suicide of a woman suffering from terminal cancer. "This is a historic step forward for Californians with terminal illnesses who have been looking to the legislature for the option to determine the quality of their final days of life based on their own personal beliefs," said Senator Bill Monning, one of the backers of the bill approved by the state assembly on Wednesday. The measure, approved by 43 votes against 34, is expected to be adopted by the state senate this week. More... (NDTV)

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