'The proposed law isn't watertight' - lawyer
"While superficially attractive, it contains serious shortcomings that create unacceptable risks for vulnerable people." Grant Illingworth QC shared his reservations on the End of Life Choice Act.
Writing in Stuff, Grant says that the assisted dying referendum does not involve voting about the concept of euthanasia and assisted dying; it concerns a set of rules that have already been drafted and enacted by Parliament.
So, come October 17th, if the majority vote in favour of the Act, those rules will come into force.
Unfortunately, the proposed law is not watertight.
"The most glaring example is the lack of any meaningful safeguard against coercion in the Act. Every law student learns about situations in which vulnerable people are pressured into making decisions against their will or their better judgment.
"Under the proposed law, doctors are required to encourage a person who seeks assisted dying to discuss their wish with others, such as family, friends, and counsellors.
"But doctors must also ensure the person knows they are not obliged to discuss their wish with anyone.
"Doctors must “do their best” to ensure that the person is expressing their wish free from pressure by conferring with other health practitioners who are in regular contact with the person and by conferring with members of the person’s family “approved” by the person.
"But there may be no other health practitioners who are in regular contact with the person and, even if there are, they may know nothing about the family situation."