Referendum on euthanasia: how assisted dying policy operates around the globe

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New Zealand’s upcoming referendum on the End of Life Preference Act – which will allow qualifying citizens to end their life by assisted dying – places us among a limited but increasing number of countries that have enacted or have attempted to enact similar legislation.

In about 195 countries and 50 states in the US, only a few have legalized any sort of assisted death to date.

The number of states for euthanasia and death-help decriminalization is much lower – just five.

In New Zealand, October will be the first aided death vote, but it is not the first time Parliament has sought to pass laws on this matter.

Since 1995 there have been three unsuccessful attempts.

The act we will vote on was first entered into the Memberbox biscuit tin in 2015 and led by ACT Party leader David Seymour, passed 3 readings allowing a binding referendum.


The End of Life Choice Act describes assisted dying as a physician or a nurse who provides drugs to a human being in order to mitigate their pain by inducing death, or takes medicines from someone who relieves suffering by murdering.

An adult has a terminal condition that will end his or her life within six months to be considered. You must have a major, gradual loss in physical capacity and intolerable pain that “is not tolerable.”

If they have a mental disability or a mental condition or have some form of incapacity and advanced age, they will not be considered.

In Australia, people with physical disabilities and other conditions are also limited in accessing end-of-life support due to the bureaucratic and practice barriers hounding the country’s healthcare system. Thus, the NDIS plan would not see assisted euthanasia as one of the reasonable expenses anytime soon.

The End of Life Choice Act is New Zealand-specific that uses the word “assisted suicide” (assisted die) as opposed to “euthanasia” (legally in parts of Australia, the United States, Canada, and Europe).

Assisted suicide is described as ‘providing someone with the information and or means to end his own life deliberately’ and euthanasia as ‘the conscious behavior of an individual with the aim of bringing an end to a person’s life in order to reduce the pain…’ the Act encompasses all.


There is no single-size solution to making people die. The rules of each competence vary.

Such as the Swiss dying center Dignitas and the many U.S. States, including California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, NJ Oregon, the State of Washington, Vermont, and the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.), have more access to helped seizing than euthanasia.

In general, it’s looser than New Zealand or Australia and Canada’s likes, and Europe is looser.

In December after Victoria was the only other Australian state to have such an act, Western Australia becomes the most recent authority to enact assisted dying legislation.

The proposed law from New Zealand is closely associated with the Victoria and Oregon of Australia in the United States with supporters who say in some ways it is more stringent.

In the five nations, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Canada and Colombia, successful human euthanasia and aided suicide are allowed, but not under the same terms.

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