CNA Staff, Aug 12, 2020 / 17:01 pm
A New Zealand bill that would legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide does not have enough protections against the possible coercion of vulnerable people, opponents of the bill said at a recent public forum.
Renee Joubert, executive officer of advocacy group Euthanasia-Free NZ, said Aug. 10 that she is concerned that the End of Life Choice Act 2019 would allow doctors to counsel patients whom they barely know, allowing them to approve their requests for assisted suicide without properly screening for coercion or without even being required to meet with the patient in person.
"If (doctors and patients) have not met someone before it is hard to know if they have been coerced. If (consultations) can be by phone video not face-to-face then how can they tell if they are free from pressure, their abuser may be out of sight," Joubert said, according to an article from the Timaru Herald appearing on Stuff, a New Zealand news website.
Joubert was one of five people who spoke for and against the euthanasia and assisted suicide bill at a public forum on the bill, hosted in Timaru and organized by the Timaru Christian Ministers Association, ahead of a September referendum vote on the issue. Timaru is a coastal city in the South Island of New Zealand, located roughly 100 miles south of Christchurch.