Legalisation of euthanasia in NZ inevitable says Melbourne doctor

An advocate of voluntary euthanasia says that it is “inevitable” that the practice will become lawful in New Zealand.

Melbourne-based urological surgeon Dr Rodney Syme believes that choosing when and how a person dies is a human right and says that he expects physician-assisted death to be made legal within the next decade.

Syme, who is visiting New Zealand for the Voluntary Euthanasia Society’s annual conference, admits helping hundreds of people to end their lives on their own terms.

In the Ideas programme on Radio New Zealand National on Sunday June 9 Dr Sinead Donnelly, a palliative care specialist, said euthanasia “puts the soul of medicine on trial”.

Carole Sweney, the president of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of New Zealand, and Rodney Syme were also interviewed.

Bills supporting voluntary euthanasia have twice been debated by Parliament and twice voted down. But opinion polls show the majority of the public now support euthanasia and the last time it was debated in Parliament it was defeated by just two votes.

With Labour MP Maryan Street’s End of Life Choice members bill in the ballot the issue could be debated again at any time.


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