Church position on End of Life Choice Bill
The Church believes that all life is precious. It is our view that we are created in God’s image and accordingly human life is sacred.
At its 2018 General Assembly, the Church declared that it does not support provision for euthanasia and medically-assisted suicide as proposed in the End of Life Choice Bill. We believe that any legally-sanctioned provision for doctors to actively end people’s lives or assist them to die is ethically unacceptable and would in the long-term be dangerous for public safety - especially for those who are seriously ill, depressed, disabled or very elderly.
The Church also urged the county’s politicians to respect the dignity and value of human life as they consider how to vote on this Bill.
That Church also asked the Government to significantly increase the quality of, and access to, palliative care, hospice services, mental health services, care for the disabled and care of the elderly, including recognition of the need for spiritual care.
General Assembly referred the Church's Assembly Doctrine Core Group report on euthanasia to church councils and congregations for study.
In late 2018- early 2019, the report was updated to include robust alternative points of view expressed in the 2018 General Assembly debate on the End of Life Choice Bill, before being made available. This report was sent to parishes for study in May 2019.
Where you can get more info
For a Christian perspective on euthanasia, a variety of resources are available:
- Understanding more about what euthanasia is (and isn’t) - Watch the InterChurch Bioethics Council* video
- The 2018 InterChurch Bioethics Council submission on the End of Life Choice Bill
- Quick Facts Sheet about physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia
- Study booklet prepared by the InterChurch Bioethics Council - Euthanasia: Unethical Intervention or Death with Dignity?
- End of life and a Referendum: Where are we up to? In November 2019, the End of Life Choice Act 2019 (EOLC Act) passed its third and final reading in Parliament after a two-year process. Read this response paper by Rev Dr Graham O’Brien, Co-Chair InterChurch Bioethics Council
End of Life Choice Bill
The End of Life Choice Bill bill passed its first reading in December 2017, and its third reading on 13 November 2019. The End of Life Choice Act 2019 seeks to give people with a terminal illness the option of requesting assisted dying. A major amendment to the Act has narrowed the eligibility of someone seeking euthanasia to only those with a terminal illness and less than six months left to live if approved by two doctors.
A referendum is to be held 17 October 2020, in conjunction with the NZ General Election, on whether the End of Life Choice Act 2019 should come into force and legalise voluntary euthanasia.
ICBC July 2020 FAQs list & opinion - End of Life Choice Act 2019 referendum
In July 2020, the Interchurch Bioethics Council prepared two articles on the upcoming referendum for the End of Life Choice Act 2019 - one is a FAQs list and the other is an opinion piece by Rev Dr Graham O’Brien, Co-Chair InterChurch Bioethics Council. Please download them below:
*The Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of the InterChurch Bioethics Council