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1742 Doctors Sign Letter Opposing Euthanasia Referendum

1742 doctors have signed an open letter outlining their opposition to the End of Life Choice Act, which will be voted on in the referendum at this year’s general election.

“Doctors are deeply concerned about the risks in this Act,” organiser Dr Sinead Donnelly, a Wellington-based Palliative Medicine specialist says. “In our profession every day we look after people who face dying, people who are extremely vulnerable and often feel they are a burden. Imagine introducing this choice to those people.

“We have to be conscious of all the risks in this Act because we are not just legislating for one particular case. We have to legislate for all New Zealanders including those who are vulnerable.”

The Open Letter states that ‘Doctors want no part in assisted suicide’, noting the World Medical Association and New Zealand Medical Association statements that it is unethical for doctors to be involved in assisted suicide and euthanasia, even if they were made legal. The World Medical Association representing physicians in 123 countries last year reaffirmed that euthanasia is not part of medical practice.

“This election New Zealanders will vote on whether this Act should be brought into force. Just like a jury they will need to decide beyond reasonable doubt whether it is safe. This is not a safe law. It would put vulnerable people at risk.

“New Zealanders asked the experts in relation to Covid 19 what we should do and followed their advice. Palliative care doctors and nurses are the experts in this area and they’re saying NO.”

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