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Friday, December 4, 2020

New Zealand Votes to Legalize Euthanasia for the Terminally Ill.

New Zealanders have voted to legalize euthanasia for the terminally ill, according to the preliminary results in the referendum election held last Oct. 17.

New Zealanders have voted to legalize euthanasia for the terminally ill, according to the preliminary results in the referendum election held last Oct. 17.

The results released on Oct. 30 revealed that 65.2% of the voters chose to legalize euthanasia through the End of Life Choice Act while 33.8% voted against it.

The preliminary results do not include an estimated 480,000 special votes, which include postal and overseas ballots. The final results will not be confirmed until Nov. 6.

According to the act, the euthanasia measure would only apply to those aged 18 and above, are suffering from a terminal illness that will likely end their life within six months, show a significant decline in physical capability, are “enduring unbearable suffering that cannot be eased,” and can make an informed decision on assisted dying.

Furthermore, two doctors have to authorize the decision and prescribe and administer a lethal dose. A psychiatrist will be called in if either doctor has any doubts.

The act also states that those with mental illness or are applying on the basis of advanced age or disability cannot be eligible for assisted dying.

The act is expected to come into effect on Nov. 6, 2021.

With the vote, New Zealand becomes the seventh country in the world to legalize assisted dying.

Other countries where euthanasia is legal includes Canada, Belgium, Colombia, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.

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