Saturday, November 28, 2020

New Zealand legalizes euthanasia

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New Zealand has voted to legalise euthanasia in what campaigners call a victory for compassion and kindness.

Preliminary referendum results showed 65.2% of voters supported the End of Life Choice Act 2019 coming into force as a new law.

It will allow terminally ill people, with less than six months to live, the opportunity to choose assisted dying if approved by two doctors.

For its opponents the law lacks adequate safeguards.

The results announced on Friday do not include an estimated 480,000 special votes, including overseas ballots, so the final outcome will not be confirmed until November 6 but with such strong support, the decision is not expected to change.

The referendum is binding and the law is expected to come into effect in November 2021.

It will see New Zealand join a small group of countries, including the Netherlands and Canada, which allow euthanasia.