New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a referendum for the country to decide on legalising euthanasia for those who have less than six months to live.
On Tuesday, she said that voters will cast ballots on 19 September to make their choice on whether a new euthanasia law should be passed in New Zealand.
Under the new legislation, doctors will be allowed to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to patients suffering from a terminal illness if the patients request it.
The document stipulates that those suffering a “grievous and irremediable medical condition”, which is not necessarily fatal, will also legally be able to take their own lives..
Ardern said that the 19 September referendum would coincide with the country’s general election, which could land her a second term in office, and another referendum on whether the government should legalise cannabis for recreational use.
She underscored that she “will be asking New Zealanders to continue to support my leadership and the current direction of the government, which is grounded in stability, a strong economy and progress on the long-term challenges facing New Zealand”.
Many meanwhile remain at odds over the use of euthanasia, which is categorised in different ways. Voluntary euthanasia is legal in Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland and a number of US states.
Non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia are illegal worldwide and is seen as murder.