September 18, 2023

Insight – EL49 News

General knowledge and culture with a libertarian approach

Hell is already on earth: New Zealand’s new euthanasia law will allow Covid patients to be euthanised.

4 min read
Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda Ardern - Nueva Zelanda

The New Zealand government has confirmed that coronavirus sufferers are eligible for a recently enacted euthanasia law, which pays doctors providing the service a bonus of $1,087 plus travel expenses.

The New Zealand Ministry of Health (MOH) describes the End of Life Choice Act 2019 (EOLCA) on its website as a regulation that “gives people experiencing unbearable suffering from a terminal illness the option to legally request medical assistance to end their lives”.

The EOLCA was passed by the people of New Zealand in a 2020 cyclists’ referendum that accompanied a federal election in which vaccine-and-blockade mandate zealot Jacinda Arden won a second term as Prime Minister.

State-induced suicide came into effect on 7 November.

The EOLCA website defines assisted dying as “when a person with a terminal illness (and who meets the eligibility criteria) requests medication to relieve their suffering and end their life”.

It further defines assisted dying as an act that “involves” a person’s doctor, nurse or themselves “giving them medication to relieve their suffering by causing death”.

According to an October article in the New Zealand media outlet Stuff, “An official notice has been published setting out a schedule of prices for the practice, including what the government will pay doctors to perform the procedure: 1087.20” (equivalent to $740).

Stuff noted that additional fees may be charged for travel costs, as well as for psychiatrists involved in assessments to determine that Assisted Dying clients are of sound mind and not under duress.

The Eligibility section of the Ministry of Health’s EOLCA website provides the following criteria:

  • Be 18 years of age or older.
  • Be a citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand.
  • Suffering from a terminal illness that is likely to end your life within 6 months.
  • In an advanced state of irreversible deterioration of physical capacity.
  • Experiencing unbearable suffering that cannot be alleviated in a way that the person considers tolerable.
  • Must be competent to make an informed decision about assisted dying.

On 19 December, the New Zealand anti-euthanasia publication The Defender published the results of an Official Information Act (New Zealand’s version of FOIA) media enquiry sent to the Ministry of Health in November, asking: “Could a patient who is seriously hospitalised with Covid-19 be eligible for assisted suicide or euthanasia under the Act if a health professional considers their prognosis to be less than 6 months”.

The Ombudsman explained the reason for his enquiry into the Government’s motives: “Firstly, New Zealand is currently described as being in a precarious situation with regard to COVID-19 and hospital resources”.

“In light of this, it would not be difficult to imagine a situation where a rapid and substantial increase in hospitalisations for COVID-19 could generate pressure to use euthanasia and assisted suicide as tools to resolve such a serious crisis”.

A response was received from the Ministry of Health on 7 December and partially published on the media website. In particular, the Ministry stated: “A terminal illness is often a prolonged illness in which treatment is not effective. The EOLC Act states that eligibility is determined by the attending physician (AMP) and the independent physician.

The Advocate was alarmed by this response on several fronts: “First, there is nothing concrete about the phrase ‘more often’; indeed, its inclusion in this specific context seems to strongly suggest that MINSA considers the definition of terminal illness to be subjective and open to interpretation.”

“The following sentence seems to support this,” the article continues. “It clarifies that MINSA considers that the treating physician (AMP) and the independent physician are empowered by EOLCA to make the determination as to what does and does not qualify as a terminal illness.”

The Defender’s editor, Henoch Kloosterboer, stated, “In light of this vague interpretation, it is reasonable to suggest that COVID-19 could be classified as a ‘terminal illness’ based on the patient’s prognosis and the subjective judgments of the AMP and independent physician. It seems that we have been sold one thing and given another”.

In the final paragraph, the Ministry of Health made it clear that the pandemic qualified for eligibility, as long as the attending physicians said so: “Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis; therefore, the Ministry cannot make definitive statements about who is eligible. In some circumstances, a person with COVID-19 may be eligible for assisted dying”.

In an interview with the Catholic Herald on 20 December, Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, a member of the UK House of Lords who is also a doctor and professor of palliative care at Cardiff University Medical School, said the inclusion of COVID patients in euthanasia eligibility in a country that has used closures, measures and vaccine mandates extensively to fight the pandemic “changes the spirit of medicine”.

“It is strange that a country that has been trying to protect its citizens by completely shutting down a virus that people can fully recover from… now suggests that these patients should be killed by their doctors,” he said.

“You really can’t predict death 100 percent… So why not support them while they are dying and leave the door open in case they are in the group that defies all odds and makes a full recovery?”

This is a translation of the following article:

Screenshot of original article

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