New book examines assisted dying ahead of 2020 referendum

By June 29, 2020 Recent News

Radio NZ News 28 June 2020
Family First Comment: This new book is worth checking out…
“[This bill] is intended for very few, the extreme cases probably. I assumed that the people we would be offering this to would be in extreme pain. But internationally, where assisted suicide is legal the motivational reasons for people using this isn’t actually pain. In Oregon, 2019 research shows that the primary motivational factor for people choosing this: 90 percent of people use this because their life is no longer enjoyable, 59 percent are saying they’re worried about being a burden on other people, and only 33 percent are actually in pain, or they’re afraid of the pain.”

The End of Life Choice Act will be put to the vote in a referendum alongside the national election, and has already been a hot subject of debate as it made its way through parliament.

The difficult topic has been explored in a book by journalist Caralise Trayes: The Final Choice, which includes interviews with medical and legal experts, religious leaders, ethicists, and experts on the practice of voluntary euthanasia in other countries.

Trayes’ interest in the debate was pricked when she took a freelance job focused on a meeting where assisted dying was discussed.

“I came away thinking I know very little about this, but what I do know is I’m going to have to vote on this binding referendum and make a really difficult choice. We all come into this discussion and decision with our own personal experiences, what we’ve seen and how other people have died – and that’s a really hard thing to look through.

“So I did some research and the further I got into the issue the more I realised how intricate it is and how many levels there are to it. I came away with questions … and there’s so much misinformation and so much emotion out there, I think it’s hard to find good information to make sure you can make a good choice – it’s really to equip people to make good choices.”

Trays says she can’t call which direction the referendum will fall in September.

“I know that right now, somewhere between 58 and 74 percent of Kiwis sit very on the side of voting for it, but what I’ve also seen is that same proportion of people don’t know much about this.

“Seventy-four percent of people think that this assisted dying law will mean they can turn off life support – that’s already legal. We need to get equipped and educated to make a really informed decision – this is a big decision, this is life and death. It’s worthy of that time and commitment.”
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