New Zealanders voted in favor of legalizing euthanasia. According to preliminary results, published Friday, October 30, 65.2% of voters supported legislation authorizing medically assisted death, validated by parliament last year, but submitted to a referendum, Saturday, October 17, before its implementation. .
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This law provides that a sane adult suffering from an incurable disease liable to cause death within six months and whose suffering is ” insupportable “ may require a lethal drug dose. The request must be signed by the patient’s doctor and an independent doctor, with a psychiatrist to be consulted if there is any doubt as to the person’s ability to make this decision conscientiously.
Support from the main political parties
After its approval by referendum, the law will enter into force on November 6, 2021. The “yes” to the legalization of euthanasia has received the support of the main political parties in the country, from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, leader of the Labor Party, to opposition leader Judith Collins. This majority support did not prevent a heated debate on the issue. Euthanasia-Free NZ, a group that has campaigned for the “no”, particularly fears that legalizing assisted dying will contradict and compromise suicide prevention.
Others have expressed concern about people with chronic illnesses who may feel pressured to resort to euthanasia to avoid being a burden on their families.
New Zealand joins a small group of countries and territories that have adopted similar legislation. Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands have legalized euthanasia, as have a number of states in the United States and the Australian state of Victoria. Medically assisted suicide is authorized in Switzerland.
Another referendum, this one non-binding, on the authorization of recreational cannabis tilts towards the ” no “. 53.1% of voters were opposed to the legalization of recreational marijuana. Whatever the outcome, the government will eventually have to debate the issue and pass a law through parliament.
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Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in New Zealand. The latest national health survey found that 15%, or 590,000 New Zealand adults, had used cannabis in the past 12 months. During the campaign leading up to the legislative elections and the two referendums on Saturday, October 17, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had used cannabis “ long time ago “. More recently, she said she voted yes on both referendum questions.