Intended for healthcare professionals


New Zealand will hold referendum on assisted dying in 2020

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 13 November 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6517
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

The New Zealand government has announced a public referendum on euthanasia which, if passed, will allow assisted dying for terminally ill patients with two doctors’ approval.1

This is the first time a country has held such a vote on assisted dying, coming after lawmakers passed the End of Life Choice Bill in parliament by 69 votes to 51. The bill stipulates that terminally ill people with less than six months to live would be able to choose assisted dying if two doctors approved.

The referendum is set to coincide with the country’s 2020 elections. The ballot paper will also include a vote on whether to legalise personal use of cannabis and, potentially, decriminalisation of abortion.2

Countries where assisted dying is currently legal under certain circumstances include …

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