November 14, 2019
Euthanasia law threat to Maori
A Māori disability advocate says the End of Life Choice Act poses a major threat to Māori.
The bill allowing euthanasia or assisted dying for people who are terminally ill passed last night with a block vote from New Zealand First, which had secured an amendment that it could not come into force unless it was approved by a referendum at the 2020 General Election.
Dr Huhana Hickey says the law is so broadly worded it won’t just be confined to the terminally ill, and it could be used against people with dementia or disabilities.
And she says the history of inequity in health treatment for Māori means they should be concerned about a law that allows legal killing.
“We’ve had policies in the past around eugenics where Māori were sterilised if they were disabled or they were deemed to be socially bad people so therefore they should be sterilised and not breed. We’ve had those policies in the past. What’s to say this is any different? We’ve got experience of eugenics. Who’s to say this is no different to that,” Dr Hickey says.
She says many Maori don’t understand the difference between turning off life support equipment or treatment, which is already legal, and euthanasia where steps are taken to ensure death.
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