End of Life Choice Act

The End of Life Choice Act is a New Zealand parliamentary law that allows people suffering from terminal diseases to be euthanized. This bill uses euthanasia to refer to both assisted suicide and euthanasia. Euthanasia is a patient who has been given a fatal drug by a doctor whereas assisted suicide stands for a patient who, if requested, is given a fatal drug that he or she takes themselves.

Highlights

Under the law, anyone can apply for euthanasia. However, one will only receive it with the confirmation of the doctor. The doctor should also encourage the person thinking about euthanasia to talk to others before taking the final decision. Doctors also need to do their best to make sure that the person is taking their wish without any pressure from others. The person must sign the form in front of the doctor. The psychiatrist also needs to make sure that the person is empowered to make decisions. After taking the drug, the doctor should notify the Ministry of Health that euthanasia has occurred. The registrar then refers the issue to the Review Committee.

Criteria under this act

Those who are undergoing euthanasia must meet the criteria which are the person must be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand,  be at least 18 years old, and have an incurable illness. The illness is expected to end his life within six months’ time period, and the patient’s condition should be in an advanced state of unbearable suffering and irreversible physical weakness.

About Informed Decision

The law states that a person should make an “informed choice” about euthanasia. The law defines “informed choice” because patients need to understand the importance of euthanasia. The patient needs to understand and retain all the information about euthanasia in order to make a decision. The patient also needs to weigh the information during the decision and the patient needs to convey the decision taken in some manner.

Conclusion

The End of Life Choice Act recognizes assisted suicide and euthanasia similar to Canada and Western Australia. On the other hand, only lethal doses of self-administration are allowed in the United States. In other words, only assisted suicide is allowed in the United States.