Voluntary Euthanasia believes a law change is coming after Lecretia Seales judgment

By June 5, 2015 Recent News

Stuff co.nz 5 June 2015
The time to have a conversation about euthanasia is now, and the law needs to change, a pro-choice group says.
Lecretia Seales, a Wellington lawyer who died of a brain tumour early on Friday, had asked the High Court to clarify the law so that she had the option of having a doctor’s help to die if her suffering became intolerable.
However, Justice David Collins ruled that only Parliament could change the law to reflect her wishes, and that the Seales’ doctor would have been at risk of being prosecuted for either murder or manslaughter if she administered a fatal drug with intent to kill.The Care Alliance, which was allowed to be heard in court opposing Seales’ case, said the timing of the judgment was poignant and the first thoughts of everybody were with Seales’ family and friends, and in particular her husband.
The judge had properly decided that the constitutional role of the court had been to uphold the law, not to change it, Alliance spokesman Matthew Jansen said.
The constitutional context in New Zealand was very different to that in Canada and South Africa, he said.
Right to Life said the judgment showed the laws prohibiting assisted suicide were there to protect the vulnerable. “We change them at our peril,” spokesman Ken Orr said.
Euthanasia-Free NZ also believed a law change was not needed.
“Essentially, voluntary euthanasia and assisted-suicide legislation makes it legal for one person to be involved in deliberately causing the death of someone else,” executive officer Renee Joubert said.
“As a society we need to do everything possible to relieve people’s suffering … however, this legislation is not the solution.”