New Zealand Doctors To Review Stance On Euthanasia
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 15, 2005
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND--The New Zealand Medical Association plans to review its current position against voluntary euthanasia, or assisted suicide, in light of a recent decision by the British Medical Association to drop its opposition to legalizing the practice.
"Because the BMA has changed its policy on this, it seems appropriate for us to review ours," NZ Medical Association chairman Ross Boswell told the Dominion Post on Thursday. "It doesn't mean that it will change, but we certainly need to review it."
Boswell said the review could take months.
The NZMA currently considers it unethical for a doctor to help patients end their lives or participate in euthanasia, so-called "mercy killing".
During a five-day conference last month, doctors with the British Medical Association voted to take a neutral position on the issue and to stop opposing efforts to make euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide legal in the United Kingdom. Some said the issue should be left up to society and the government to debate and decide on, rather than doctors.
Many disability rights groups oppose legalizing assisted suicide and other forms of euthanasia. They claim that such laws would make people with the most severe disabilities more vulnerable, especially during a time when the costs of medical treatment are increasing. In areas where such practices are legal, safeguards have not prevented people with disabilities -- rather than people in the final stages of terminal illness -- from killing themselves or being killed.
"Doctors to review right-to-die stand" (Dominion Post)
"NZMA euthanasia announcement marks frightening day" (The Scoop)