Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Position Statement

Below is the first page of Ngā Whaea Atawhai o Aotearoa Tiaki Manatū Sisters of Mercy Ministries New Zealand Trust position on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. You can download the complete 11 page statement here.

Ngā Whaea Atawhai o Aotearoa Tiaki Manatū Sisters of Mercy Ministries New Zealand Trust affirms all human life as being of worth and having intrinsic dignity.  Euthanasia and physician assisted suicide in any form are contrary to the ethics and philosophy of care adhered to by Mercy Health Care facilities. We oppose any change to New Zealand law which would provide for the legalisation of assisted dying.

Good end of life care, be it aged care, palliative or hospice care, aims to enable people to live fully and comfortably to the natural end of their lives and to die in peace and dignity. Rather than legislating to enable foreshortening of the lives of those who are dying, we advocate for increased funding to provide accessible, affordable palliative and hospice care to all who need these services.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide as life-ending practices are not health procedures. Such practices violate health care ethics and are antithetical to the practice of palliative care.  Palliative care

  • affirms life and regards death as a normal process
  • intends to neither hasten nor postpone death
  • provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms (Ministry of Health, 2001; World Health Organisation, 2002).

Patients, however, have the right to refuse or request withdrawal of life prolonging treatments such as CPR, or the administration of medically assisted nutrition and / or hydration.  Withholding or withdrawing of treatment that is non-beneficial or burdensome to a patient at end of life does not constitute euthanasia (ANZSPM, 2017).

Mercy Health Care facilities remain committed to providing best-practice, holistic care for our patients and their families as they face the difficulties presented by life-threatening illnesses.

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