Protection of Conscience Project
Protection of Conscience Project
www.consciencelaws.org
Service, not Servitude

Service, not Servitude
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New Zealand

End of Life Choice Act  2017

(Members Bill 269 - 3) 

Introduction

The following provisions are taken from a euthanasia/assisted suicide law approved by the New Zealand parliament on 13 November, 2019.  However, the law cannot come into effect until 12 months after it has been approved by a simple majority in a national referendum, and must  come into effect within five years of having received Royal Assent (by November, 2024) or it will lapse.

3.    Interpretation

In this Act, unless the context requires another meaning,—

. . . assisted dying in relation to a person, means—

(a) the administration by an attending medical practitioner or an attending nurse practitioner of medication to the person to relieve the person’s suffering by hastening death; or

(b) the self-administration by the person of medication to relieve their suffering by hastening death

attending medical practitioner, in relation to a person, means the person’s medical practitioner

attending nurse practitioner means a nurse practitioner who is acting under the instruction of an attending medical practitioner (or replacement medical practitioner)

. .  . conscientious objection means an objection on the grounds of conscience

. . .health practitioner has the meaning given to it by section 5(1) of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 20031

. .  .  SCENZ means Support and Consultation for End of Life in New Zealand

SCENZ Group means the body established under section 19 . . .

5A Conscientious objection

(1) A health practitioner is not under any obligation to assist any person who wishes to exercise the option of receiving assisted dying under this Act if the health practitioner has a conscientious objection to providing that assistance to the person.

(2) Subsection (1)—

(a) applies despite any legal obligation to which the health practitioner is subject, regardless of how the legal obligation arises; but

(b) does not apply to the obligation in section 6(2).

(3) An employer must not—

(a) deny to an employee any employment, accommodation, goods, service, right, title, privilege, or benefit merely because the employee objects on the grounds of conscience to providing any assistance referred to in subsection (1); or

(b) provide or grant to an employee any employment, accommodation, goods, service, right, title, privilege, or benefit conditional upon the employee providing or agreeing to provide any assistance referred to in subsection (1).

(4) A person who suffers any loss by reason of any breach of subsection (3) is entitled to recover damages from the person responsible for that breach.

(5) In subsection (3), employee includes a prospective employee.

6 Effect of conscientious objection by attending medical practitioner

(1) This section applies if—

(a) a person informs the attending medical practitioner under section 8(1) that they wish to  exercise the option of receiving assisted dying; and

(b) the attending medical practitioner has an a conscientious objection to providing that option to the person.

(2) The attending medical practitioner must tell the person—

(a) of their conscientious objection; and

(b) of the person’s right to ask the SCENZ Group for the name and contact details of a replacement medical practitioner.

(3) If the person chooses to have a replacement medical practitioner, all subsequent references in this Act to the attending medical practitioner (except in section 8(1)) are to the person’s replacement medical practitioner.

19 SCENZ Group

(1) The Director-General must establish the SCENZ Group by appointing to it the number of members that the Director-General considers appropriate.

(1A) The Director-General must appoint members who the Director-General considers have, collectively, knowledge and understanding of matters relevant to the functions of the SCENZ Group.

(2) The functions of the SCENZ Group are—

(a) to make and maintain a list of medical practitioners who are willing to act for the purposes of this Act as—

(i) replacement medical practitioners:

(ii) independent medical practitioners:

(b) to provide a name and contact details from the list maintained under paragraph (a), when this Act requires the use of a replacement medical practitioner or independent medical practitioner, in  a way that ensures that the attending medical practitioner does not choose the replacement medical practitioner or independent medical practitioner:

(c) to make and maintain a list of health practitioners who are willing to act for the purposes of this Act as psychiatrists:

(d) to provide a name and contact details from the list maintained under paragraph (c), when this Act requires the use of a psychiatrist, in way that ensures that neither the attending medical practitioner nor the independent medical practitioner chooses the psychiatrist:

(e) to make and maintain a list of pharmacists who are willing to dispense medication for the purposes of section 16:

(f) to provide a name and contact details from the list maintained under paragraph (e) when section 16 is to be applied:

(g) in relation to the administration of medication under section 16,—

(i) to prepare standards of care; and

(ii) to advise on the required medical and legal procedures; and

(iii) to provide practical assistance if assistance is requested.

(3) The Ministry must service the SCENZ Group.


Notes

[Provided by the Protection of Conscience Project]

1.    health practitioner or practitioner means a person who is, or is deemed to be, registered with an authority as a practitioner of a particular health profession (Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003, Subsection 5(1) )