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Euthanasia referendum: 124 Australians access assisted dying in first year – Stuff.co.nz

There were 124 confirmed deaths in the first year assisted dying was permitted in the Australian state of Victoria, new figures show.

Victorias Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 came into force last June, allowing terminally ill adults with less than six months to live the option to request medication to end their life.

On October 17, New Zealanders will get to vote on a piece of legislation which would allow this for Kiwis over the age of 18 in a binding referendum.

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On October 17, New Zealanders will vote in a binding referendum on whether to pass the End of Life Choice Act into law.

Ahead of the referendum, Stuff analyses what New Zealands closest neighbour has seen in its assisted dying scheme which is largely similar to what has been proposed here in its first year.

READ MORE:* Euthanasia referendum: How assisted dying laws work around the world* Five applications to die lodged each week under Australian state's new euthanasia laws* Assisted dying: How Victoria's euthanasia laws will work in Australia* Euthanasia referendum: What drugs are used in assisted dying, and how do they work?

This week, the independent Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board released its third report on activity under the Act, and the first comprehensive look at the year in review.

It showed access to voluntary assisted dying is growing, with eligible applications increasing by 50 per cent from June-December 2019 to January-June 2020.

Between June 2019 and June 30, 2020, 348 people were assessed for eligibility to access voluntary assisted dying in Victoria, which has a population of 6.3 million.

At the first assessment, 341 were found eligible, while seven were deemed ineligible to access the scheme.

At the consulting assessment, where a medical practitioner receives and accepts a referral from the coordinating medical practitioner, 297 people were deemed eligible and four were ineligible.

Iain McGregor/Stuff

New Zealand's End of Life Choice Act would allow terminally ill adults with fewer than six months to live to end their lives by taking lethal medication.

In the first year, 154 cases had lethal medication dispensed for self-administration this sharply increased over the year, from 57 dispensings in the first six months to 97 between January and June.

Of the confirmed deaths where medication was administered, 104 took the lethal dose typically a drink themselves and 20 had it administered by a practitioner.

The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria shows there were 42,115 deaths from July, 2019 to June, 2020 the month of June 2019 was no longer available meaning those who accessed assisted dying made up fewer than 0.3 per cent of all deaths.

The average age of the 124 Australians who died from taking the prescribed medications was 71, however applicants ranged from 32 to 100 years old.

Almost four out of five had terminal cancer, including lung (17 per cent), breast (15 per cent) and gastrointestinal tract cancer (10 per cent) making up the majority of cases.

Others had motor neurone disease (15 per cent), while seven per cent had diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis, cardiomyopathy or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The majority of applicants were men (55 per cent), while 44 per cent were women. One per cent selected self-described as their sex.

The majority of applicants spoke English at home, and nine required an interpreter to attend appointments.

Close to two thirds (62 per cent) lived in a metropolitan area, while 38 per cent lived in regional or rural Victoria.

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Victoria was the first Australian state to pass a law allowing assisted dying.

Once an assisted dying application is complete, either because the applicant has died or chosen to withdraw, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board reviews all information submitted to determine if the case complied with the Act.

The board found compliance with the Act was at 99 per cent.

One application was deemed non-compliant due to an issue with the paperwork, not related to the eligibility of the applicant, they found.

The board received feedback from applicants, contact people and medical practitioners about a number of issues.

These included expanding voluntary assisted dying services to be accessible seven days a week; making it easier to access medical practitioners who have already completed the training; and allowing online appointments.

It also outlined access issues to those in regional parts of the state, with the board saying there was a need for more specialists in regional areas.

The number of medical practitioners trained and registered for assisted dying was also growing, increasing by 30 per cent from the first six months.

More than 420 medical practitioners in Victoria had registered for the mandatory training, of which 76 per cent were registered in the portal where forms and permit applications must be submitted.

Of those registered in the portal, 50 per cent were GPs. Sixteen per cent specialised in oncology, five per cent in neurology and three per cent in palliative care medicine.

Under Australian law, it is an offence to use online or telephone services for suicide-related material, which includes voluntary assisted dying.

Some applicants and their families said the Covid-19 pandemic created additional stress for people who were vulnerable and trying to self-isolate as well as going through the assisted dying process.

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Victorias Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board received reports of issues with access to the scheme from those living in regional or rural parts of the state, and others complaining the process was too protracted.

One contact person said there was a wait-time of a month to see a specialist, and the person had to go to Melbourne as there was no specialist involved in the programme locally.

This was too much. It was a terribly long day, and she was in considerable pain. She was exhausted by the end of it, they said in the report.

Others felt they had to wait far too long to receive their lethal medication.

Another contact person said their loved one was in a facility which was not supportive of voluntary assisted dying, so had to move to another one.

This was very stressful at the time; however, the new facility gave him a private room in the most beautiful setting and were very supportive, they said.

Victoria was the first state in Australia to pass voluntary assisted dying laws a move followed by Western Australia in December.

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New Zealands proposed law is similar to that passed in Australia, including that only those who are likely to die from a terminal illness within six months could be eligible.

Under Victorian law, only those suffering from an incurable, advanced and progressive disease, illness or condition who are experiencing intolerable suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner the person considers tolerable can access voluntary assisted dying.

The persons condition must be assessed by two medical practitioners to be expected to cause death within six months.

This is almost identical to the Act going to referendum in New Zealand in October.

Mental illness or disability alone are not grounds for access to voluntary assisted dying, but people who meet all other criteria, and who have a disability or mental illness, will not be denied access under Victorias law.

Voluntary assisted dying must be voluntary and initiated by the person themselves, and will usually be self-administered.

In New Zealand, assisted dying is defined in the End of Life Choice Act as a doctor or nurse practitioner giving a person medication to relieve their suffering by bringing on death, or, the taking of medication by a person to relieve their suffering by bringing on death.

To be eligible for assisted dying under the Act, a person must be suffering from a terminal illness likely to end their life within six months.

They must have significant and ongoing decline in physical capability, and experience unbearable suffering that cannot be eased in a manner that the person finds tolerable.

They must initiate the topic with their healthcare professional, and two doctors must agree they meet the criteria.

A person would not be eligible if the only reason they give is that they are suffering from a mental disorder or mental illness; have a disability of any kind; or because of their advanced age.

For more Stuff coverage on the euthanasia referendum, click here.

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Euthanasia referendum: 124 Australians access assisted dying in first year - Stuff.co.nz

Eradicating abortion and euthanasia, protecting life primary in political deliberation – Rhode Island Newspaper

Every electoral cycle, Catholics hold significant sway over who will ultimately win the Presidency. But Catholics do not comprise a homogenous voting bloc in comparison to other religious denominations. In some ways, this makes sense. After all, the Church is not a political party. The Mystical Body of Christ transcends the political order, while still recognizing its natural role in achieving human flourishing. Thus, Catholics can legitimately disagree about the persuasiveness of candidates or the effectiveness of their policies. As Cardinal Ratzinger taught, there may be a legitimate diversity of opinion about certain prudential decisions affecting the polity, such as waging war or applying the death penalty. Sadly, however, the contemporary political arena has evaded the possibility of many political discussions due to the consistent assault against human life proffered by some candidates.Diverse political persuasions can be healthy in a democracy; but when those political opinions diverge on whether to protect innocent human life, compromise is simply not possible. Ratzinger thus also insisted that there cannot be a diversity of opinion in politics with regard to issues such as abortion and euthanasia, because they are intrinsic moral evils. Undoubtedly, the Church does not and will not endorse any particular candidate. But the Church emphatically teaches that eradicating the evils of abortion and euthanasia, and protecting the inviolable right to life, are primary in the order of political deliberation.

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Eradicating abortion and euthanasia, protecting life primary in political deliberation - Rhode Island Newspaper

Euthanasia referendum: The Kiwi who will choose to die if the End of Life Choice Bill passes – Newshub

The only sign something's not quite right, Armstrong says, is the way it affects his mental state. He says he lives "under a cloud of depression" that is triggered unexpectedly.

"The physical stuff is one thing, but the main way it affects you every day is the sadness. I let myself grieve every few weeks, then I just dust myself off and get on with it," he said.

"The thing is with this that it could be the next test I have [when my medication will be ineffectual], or the one after, or the one three months later where it's going to have overtaken the medication and we need to be looking at other options."

It's then, when his quality of life begins to deteriorate, that he wants to be given the opportunity to die how he wants.

Armstrong says he wants to go out on horseback, surrounded by his wife and family.

Based on recent polling, he's confident that choosing how he wants to die is an opportunity he'll get.

"I'm not afraid of death, because I know when my life is finished it'll be according to my set of rules," he said.

"I'll be able to say, 'Hey, I don't feel curling up in a ball in palliative care in some shitty hospital somewhere amping up the morphine until I slowly drift into unconsciousness'."

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Euthanasia referendum: The Kiwi who will choose to die if the End of Life Choice Bill passes - Newshub

Have your say readers comments on Top News – Euro Weekly News

HERE are a selection of our top engaging posts on Facebook over the weekend and our readers comments on them.

UK Government could slash holiday quarantine from a fortnight to eight days

Given the poor controls and monitoring of those supposedly quarantining, frankly academic and this is more to do with politics than health. BS

Get ready for rain as DANA hits Spain

Well considering a fair few peoples in the Balearics follow the Euro Weekly it is accurate, we have been placed on an orange warning from midnight tonight, so no scaremongering going on here. NS

Covid does for bullfighting what the protesters cannot

You are right they should not be doing anything to support this disgusting activity. TK

Facebook Blocks Terminally ill Frenchmans Wish to Livestream his Own Death

If terminally ill and in painYes I totally agree with euthanasia. We put our fur babies to sleep if in pain, so why do our loved ones have to suffer?This gentleman probably wants to show the world that euthanasia is painless and you just go to sleep. CP

Covid tests could be showing inactive traces of the virus

Proper journalism well done EWN now keep digging theres more to this and you know it. TL

Mystery Lottery winner has only one week to claim 65 million prize!

Feed and house the Scotland homeless if not claimed. PB

Scottish travellers enraged at confusion over quarantine measures

The UK, four countries four separate prime ministers well they think they are what else can you expect when they all differ confused he says confused am I. AW

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle scoop 120 million Netflix dealHe has lost all sense of loyalty its all about cash and using familys private business to do so leaves him no credit. RMS

Thank you for reading Have your say readers comments on Top News. You may also wish to read Euro Weekly News readers letters and opinion.

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Have your say readers comments on Top News - Euro Weekly News

Election 2020: First-time voter wants to help others make an informed decision on euthanasia – Stuff.co.nz

Warwick Smith/Stuff

Sarah Ridsdale is organising a public meeting for journalist and author Caralise Trayes to speak about euthanasia, the topic of her recently published book.

A first time voters keen interest in the euthanasia referendum has led her to organise an event on the issue.

Sarah Ridsdale, 19, from Palmerston North, will vote for the first time on October 17.

She said one of the confusing parts of this years election was that the euthanasia referendum was binding while the cannabis referendum was not.

A binding referendum means that the result must be acted upon or implemented.

READ MORE:* Election 2020: How will Taranaki candidates vote in the cannabis, end of life referendums?* MPs vote 69-51 to pass David Seymour's End of Life Choice bill* Euthanasia referendum on the cards after tight vote in Parliament

STUFF

What is the euthanasia referendum and what are you voting for? The End of Life Choice Act explained.

Ridsdale wanted to be able to make an informed decision on euthanasia and came across the book The Final Choice End of Life Suffering: Is Assisted Dying the Answer?

It was really helpful to read about the big personal points of view, as well as the more technical aspects of the law.

The End of Life Choice Act had been passed in Parliament, but would only become law if more than 50 per cent of people voted in favour of it.

Ridsdale wanted to help other people get informed, so they too could make a calculated decision.

We have a belief that its never OK to end another persons life, and this law says that, under some circumstances, it is. Thats a big change in mindset, we need to think about this carefully

The Final Choice author Caralise Trayes will speak at the event, with insights into what she learnt while researching and writing the book.

Trayes interviewed more than 20 experts on both sides of the argument, including those with terminal illnesses, lawyers, doctors, ethicists and clerics.

Director of palliative care at the Arohanui Hospice Dr Simon Allan will also speak at the event.

It will be a family affair, with Risdales father as MC, her brother and sister on music, and her mum helping with its organisation.

Two sessions on the euthanasia referendum will be held at the Globe Theatre in Palmerston North on September 16, at 3.30pm and 7pm.

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Election 2020: First-time voter wants to help others make an informed decision on euthanasia - Stuff.co.nz

New Zealand split on legalising cannabis in ‘reeferendum’ – The Guardian

Support for the Yes and No campaigns in New Zealands referendum on legalising and taxing cannabis is split at 49.5% each, six weeks out from voting day.

The No campaign, which aims to keep the status quo, has a slight edge in the poll by news outlet Stuff when only registered voters are counted, leading 50.8% to 48.4%. Voting and being on the electoral roll is optional in New Zealand.

The reeferendum is being held alongside a similar referendum on euthanasia at the national election on 17 October.

The new poll, of 1,300 voters, shows the closeness of the debate. Previous polls linked to major TV networks have shown the No vote ahead, while most online polls show the opposite.

The vote is being held at the behest of the Greens, which made the referendum a condition of their support for Jacinda Arderns Labour-led government in 2017.

Ardern has refused to be drawn on which way she will vote, and has a neutral history on the topic. Thats drawn the ire of campaigners, hoping the countrys most popular politician might intervene to tip the ballot their way.

Labour has offered its MPs a conscience vote while opposition National MPs are all voting against it.

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New Zealand split on legalising cannabis in 'reeferendum' - The Guardian

Euthanasia referendum: Terminal cancer patient reveals why she’s against legalising assisted dying – Newshub

Up until then, she had always believed people should have the choice of assisted dying, saying it was, "My body, my choice". But after her suicide attempt, her views changed.

"Do you know what, I woke up the next day and I had the best day. I kept thinking, 'What if you'd done it?'"

Walsh now believes in what she calls a journey to completion, no matter how painful the end.

"Why would I take away the fun parts? And people say to me, 'What happens if there aren't any fun parts?' I say I don't know. But I am prepared to see that journey through because I don't believe in anybody deliberately ending someone else's life."

She's now against giving people the choice for assisted dying because there is so much room to get it wrong.

"I possibly would have felt pressured into doing it. Because I wouldn't have had those few quiet moments on my own."

Walsh says the cancer is growing rapidly and she knows her time is nearly up, but there are things she won't be able to do before she dies.

"I really, really wanted to see my granddaughter in Perth. That was the goal and that's not going to happen. And that's not going to happen because of COVID. She was due to arrive here on July 3."

She says she's now prepared for a difficult end.

"I suffer for my children. My husband has been such a rock. I don't want to rob my children that one smile or one kiss."

Now she hopes to live to have her say against assisted dying.

"I'm hoping, really hoping, that I will get my vote in and make my vote count."

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Euthanasia referendum: Terminal cancer patient reveals why she's against legalising assisted dying - Newshub

Science and the NZ cannabis and euthanasia referendums – Stuff.co.nz

Abigail Dougherty/Stuff

The Prime Minister,s Chief Science Advisor, Professor Juliet Gerrard, left, has assembled a good, balanced summary of the evidence with her expert panel on cannabis.

OPINION: Two big questions, two yes votes from me.

We are five weeks away from the general election, still a long time in a world with Covid-19. A new community outbreak of the virus could change our fortunes overnight.

Aside from choosing who we think should run the country, we have some serious science-related issues to consider with a non-binding referendum on whether to legalise cannabis and a binding referendum on voluntary euthanasia awaiting our votes on September 19.

As the late novelist David Foster Wallace put it, occupying the day-to-day trenches of adult life is hard and finding time and the head space for such weighty issues is also difficult. Heres what Ive been pondering when it comes to deciding how to vote on cannabis and euthanasia.

STUFF

In September, New Zealanders will vote in the Cannabis legalisation and control referendum.

READ MORE:* Scientific evidence behind legalising cannabis is uncertain, prime minister's chief scientist says * End of life and legalising cannabis referendums make for a complicated election

LEGALISING CANNABIS

Will it do more harm than good overall? There is no clear-cut answer based on overseas experience. Will legalising cannabis lead to a spike in use and a host of new public health problems as a result?

Experts suggest that removing the criminal enterprise behind the cannabis trade and the stigma associated with cannabis-related convictions will significantly benefit society and Mori in particular.

The prime ministers chief science advisor, Professor Juliet Gerrard, has assembled a good, balanced summary of the evidence with her expert panel on cannabis.

One paper referenced by the panel sums up the issue for me. Its American author, Beau Kilmer, says the outcome on health, safety and social equity will come down to how we deal with the 14 Ps. They span everything from the production and profit motive underpinning a legitimate cannabis industry, to the price, purity and potency of cannabis products on offer and the states power to police it and enact measures to prevent harm.

To me, the risk-reward equation favours a yes vote as long as the new Cannabis Regulatory Authority is effective in properly overseeing the industry and that theres a genuine opportunity to review progress at the five-year mark and make changes if needed.

VOLUNTARY EUTHANASIA

STUFF

What is the euthanasia referendum and what are you voting for? The End of Life Choice Act explained.

Will it be abused? Euthanasia is an easier call for me to make, due to the relatively restrictive provisions of the End of Life Choice Act 2019, which sees it only apply to an adult with a terminal illness and less than six months to live and only if they have the approval of two doctors.

Other countries, such as Belgium and Switzerland (with its Dignitas assisted dying centres), have much more liberal schemes in place. Again, evidence from overseas is mixed on what the overall impact on society would be.

We know that people with a terminal illness can safely be given a swift and painless death. But crucial is maintaining a persons right to make that choice without undue pressure from family, friends or health professionals.

There is scope for abuse of the system with tragic consequences. Effective oversight from regulatory bodies is crucial. But on balance, it's another yes for me.

MONIQUE FORD/Stuff

Stuff science columnist Peter Griffin will be voting yes in both referendums in New Zealand this year.

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Science and the NZ cannabis and euthanasia referendums - Stuff.co.nz

Euthanasia referendum: Why Hospice NZ went to court over law – Stuff.co.nz

OPINION: New Zealanders will have to make a life-changing decision when they vote in the referendum on the End of Life Choice Act at the general election in September.

For decades, hospice services across the world have upheld a philosophy of care that aims to neither hasten nor postpone death.

Staying true to this founding tenet has never been more important or challenging in the face of a potential law change to allow euthanasia.

When Hospice NZ reviewed the End of Life Choice Act, we were deeply concerned with the lack of clarity and detail when it came to the potential application of the act. Following legal advice, Hospice NZ took an unprecedented action to seek clarity from the High Court on how the act could work, should it pass into law.

We sought a declaratory judgment seeking clarity on whether an organisation, such as a hospice, can conscientiously object to assisted dying. We asked whether the acts mandatory obligations on a health practitioner override their ethical, clinical or professional judgments and obligations under the Code of Health and Disability Consumers Rights.

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Hospice NZ chief executive Mary Schumacher says determining how long a person has to live with a terminal illness is very problematic and often inaccurate.

Taking this action was a difficult decision, as not-for-profit organisations do not enter into legal action lightly. But it was necessary, as the gaps in this proposed act, which will not return to Parliament for any further changes, left us unsure of how it could work in practice.

Following the hearing and deliberation, Justice Jill Mallon released her findings in mid-June and now we are focusing on sharing this information as widely as possible ahead of the vote.

The judgment confirmed:

Organisations such as hospice have a right to hold conscientious objection

The court ruled that organisations such as hospice can have an entrenched moral ethos that qualifies for protection under the right to freedom of conscience in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

This means that organisations like hospice services, aged care facilities or GP practices can object to assisted dying, as set out in the End of Life Choice Act, happening on their premises or by their staff.

Iain McGregor/Stuff

The End of Life Choice Bill passed into law last November. The referendum in September will decide whether the End of Life Choice Act comes into force.

There are a range of health care providers who may wish to create a safe space for patients, whnau, staff and volunteers, who do not wish to be exposed to the practice of euthanasia while receiving care, in their place of work or, in the case of aged residential care residents, their home.

The mandatory provisions in the act do not override the Code of Health and Disability Consumers Rights

Justice Mallon made it clear that the acts mandatory obligations do not override the standard ways in which a healthcare practitioner determines competency and informed consent without coercion. The proposed act sets a much lower standard for both as part of the assessment process.

However, a practitioner must decline to follow a direction in the act if they are not satisfied under ordinary professional standards.

The attending medical practitioner must have appropriate qualifications and experience to undertake assisted dying services

Justice Mallon clarified the definition of attending medical practitioner as one whose scope of practice includes care of the dying and who has been involved in the patients care. They must also have sufficient skill, expertise and knowledge of the patient to be able to properly undertake the assessments, provide the advice, and reach the opinions required of them. Any doctor who does not meet these requirements would be expected to transfer on the patients care to someone appropriately qualified and experienced.

Whilst this clarity is very helpful in terms of understanding how the act could work in practice, we still believe this act is fundamentally flawed. The safeguards are inadequate or absent. Determining how long a person has to live with a terminal illness is very problematic and often inaccurate. People with mental health issues, living with disability and a terminal illness will qualify for euthanasia.

Most importantly, people living with a terminal illness should be supported to live in whatever way is important to them, their family and whnau, and make the most of their remaining life and not be subjected to pressure to end their life prematurely.

People should have access to good palliative care support regardless of where they live, but we know that this is not the case currently in Aotearoa New Zealand. We need to address issues of access to care, social isolation, and lack of support for family carers before we give people the means to choose death.

The words of the founder of the modern hospice movement, Dame Cicely Saunders, have never been more relevant when we think of dignity and compassion at the end of life: You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life. We will do all we can not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die.

Mary Schumacher ONZM is chief executive of Hospice NZ.

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Euthanasia referendum: Why Hospice NZ went to court over law - Stuff.co.nz

Everything you need to know about the 2020 assisted dying referendum – The Spinoff

Alongside the general election of 2020, New Zealanders will be asked to vote on the End of Life Choice bill, which allows voluntary euthanasia for those suffering terminal illnesses. Heres our bumper question-and-answer special on what it involves.

Click here for everything you need to know about the cannabis referendum. Read more from the Spinoff on Election 2020 here.

What is the exact question well be voting on?

Do you support the End of Life Choice Act 2019 coming into force?

Thats it?

Thats it. To be a worthwhile gauge of public opinion, referendum questions have to be worded as neutrally as possible. So the question itself is a simple yes or no about a specific piece of legislation. You can read the full legislation here.

Who got the legislation through parliament?

The End of Life Choice bill was largely driven by Act MP David Seymour, who has advocated for this law since the 2014-17 term of parliament.

Why is the public voting on it, if the legislation already exists?

Over the last term of parliament, MPs in select committees and the full chamber of parliament worked on this bill, and eventually got it to a point where a majority were comfortable with it passing providing it also went to a referendum. This clause was brought in as a Supplementary Order Paper by NZ First MP Jenny Marcroft, in exchange for her partys support for it to proceed. Without that, it may have failed to pass through parliament.

In general terms, MPs did not vote for or against the End of Life Choice Act along party lines. Instead, it was treated as a conscience issue in other words, MPs had to decide for themselves whether they supported or opposed it. At the third and final reading of the bill, the margin in favour was 69-51.

If the referendum passes, will anyone be allowed to choose assisted dying?

No. Under the legislation, there are strict conditions all of which must be met. They are:

Additionally, a person would not be able to choose assisted dying if their reason for the choice is mental illness, nor if their reason is because of a disability, nor if their reason is simply that theyre old.

What exactly is assisted dying?

This is defined as a medical professional giving medication that will relieve suffering by bringing on death. A persons doctor and an independent doctor must agree that the person meets all the criteria, which includes being able to make an informed decision about assisted dying.If either doctor is unsure of the persons ability to make that decision, a psychiatrist needs to assess the person. If a person is not eligible, they cannot receive assisted dying.

If a person is deemed eligible, then a date and time is set for the person to be given their fatal dose of medication. They can change their mind at any time of this process.

How would the medication be administered?

There are four options:

Can a decision on assisted dying be made on behalf of someone else?

Under the legislation, no. You could not, for example, make a choice for assisted dying on behalf of a grandparent with severely advanced dementia. A medical professional must also step in and stop the process if they feel someone is pressuring a person to choose assisted dying.

What about a family member denying permission for someone to choose assisted dying?

Again, no. A person does not have to discuss their choice with their family, one way or the other. It can only be the persons choice alone.

Say severe dementia runs in a persons family. Can I write a will or other legal document that would allow me to make a decision in advance to choose assisted dying, if I cognitively decline to a pre-agreed level?

No, the decision must be made at the time, by a person of sound mind and judgement. If a person had experienced such cognitive decline that they were no longer able to make this judgement, then there would be no way to be sure that what they declared in advance was still their choice.

Could a doctor suggest to someone that they consider assisted dying?

No, as that would contravene the choice being freely made.

If I chose assisted dying, would that forfeit my life insurance policy?

No. For all legal purposes, a person who chooses assisted dying would be considered to have died of a terminal illness and after all, you can only choose assisted dying if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Can we be absolutely sure that nobody would ever choose assisted dying because of pressure from another person?

While there are safeguards in place with the legislation, this is one of the main arguments raised by opponents of the law change. The concerns have been raised by advocates of the elderly, and people with disabilities, on the grounds that at present, some view these people as a burden either explicitly or implicitly. For example, disability rights commissioner Paula Tesoriero last year said that those in the sector were overwhelmingly opposed to the legislation, because some patients may feel coerced by their families.

Former prime minister Bill English is another opponent of the law change who has raised this point. He wrote an op-ed on Stuff saying that even supporters of assisted dying generally should be wary of this particular legislation, because the protections were insufficient. Talk to any doctor and they will tell you it is virtually impossible to detect subtle emotional coercion, and even overt coercion, at the best of times. Yet many people will be signed off by medical practitioners with little or no understanding of the patients family or social history, let alone medical history, he wrote.

Is there also religious opposition to the law change?

Some faiths are heavily opposed to assisted dying. An open letter to MPs was signed by leaders of Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Anglican and Lutheran churches, the Federation of Islamic Associations and the Salvation Army.

What about tikanga Mori?

As with pretty much every other issue under the sun, there is no singular view within te ao Mori on assisted dying. Radio NZs Meriana Johnsen had an excellent piece last year which explored the complexities and different opinions on the matter.

What are the arguments in favour of the law change?

The primary argument in favour of this law change centres around compassion for the dying. David Seymour set out his reasoning on the website LifeChoice, saying it was about giving people the freedom to choose to end their own lives with dignity, saying it was both legally and morally the right thing to do.

The motivation for this bill is the very real anguish faced by people with terminal illness, as they anticipate the prospect of intolerable suffering, and the indignity of the final few days and weeks of their lives. While pain can be ameliorated somewhat, the suffering and indignity of that final period of life remains a profound concern to many people.

Additionally, he argued that total prohibitions on assisted dying left terminally ill people facing much worse choices than that offered by his proposed law change. A person facing this prospect has two options: she can take her own life prematurely, often by violent or dangerous means, or she can suffer until she dies from natural causes. The choice is cruel.

Is the medical community in favour of this law change?

Many medical professionals are not in favour. More than 1000 doctors signed an open letter against the law change, saying that assisted dying was unethical. While they supported the right of terminally ill people to refuse treatment if they so chose, crossing the line to assist a person to die would weaken the doctor-patient relationship. Subsequent polling carried out by Horizon research and published in an Act Party press release found that 37% of doctors were in favour of a law change, while 52% were against, with the remainder unsure.

Of those doctors who are against assisted dying, can they object to providing it as a service?

No health practitioner would have to carry out a request for assisted dying if they had a conscientious objection towards it. However, if a patient requests assisted dying from a doctor, they must both inform the patient of their conscientious objection, and also inform the patient that they have the right to ask for the name and contact details of a replacement doctor.

What about polling of the general public? After all, it is a referendum.

Currently, pretty much all polls show a majority of the public is in favour of changing the law to make assisted dying legal. The numbers vary from poll to poll, but the general outline is the same. On the most recent survey carried out by Research NZ in July, 64% of respondents were in favour, with 18% not in favour. The remaining voters were undecided.

Within that, there were several trends that had been observed from surveys conducted in March, and December last year. The number of respondents strongly in favour had gone down, compared to the number of respondents somewhat in favour. However, the total number of people against it had also gone down.

If Im voting in the general election, do I have to also vote in this referendum?

No, voters can also choose to abstain from voting on this question.

Click here for everything you need to know about the cannabis referendum. Read more from the Spinoff on Election 2020 here.

The Spinoff Daily gets you all the day's best reading in one handy package, fresh to your inbox Monday-Friday at 5pm.

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Everything you need to know about the 2020 assisted dying referendum - The Spinoff

Efficacy of oral torasemide in dogs with degenerative mitral valve disease and new onset congestive heart failure: The CARPODIEM study. – Physician’s…

Torasemide is a potent loop diuretic with potential to treat congestive heart failure (CHF) in dogs.Evaluate the efficacy and safety of torasemide compared to furosemide in dogs with first occurrence of CHF caused by degenerative mitral valve disease (DMVD).Three hundred and nineteen dogs with new onset CHF attributable to DMVD.Double-blinded randomized noninferiority study of PO torasemide vs furosemide in addition to standard CHF treatment. The primary efficacy criterion was decreased pulmonary edema and cough and no worsening of dyspnea or exercise tolerance at day 14. Secondary endpoints included clinical response at day 84 and time to death, euthanasia, or premature study withdrawal for cardiac reasons.Torasemide q24h (n = 161) was noninferior to furosemide q12h (n = 158); percentage of dogs meeting primary efficacy criterion at day 14 was similar between groups (torasemide, 74.4% [95% confidence interval (CI), 66.8%-81.0%] vs. furosemide, 73.5% [95% CI, 65.7%-80.4%]; risk ratio [RR], 1.01; 95% CI, 0.89-1.15; P = .87). Efficacy at day 84 showed similar results (RR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.88-1.25; P = .6). Dogs receiving torasemide had a longer time to endpoint and were less than half as likely to experience death, euthanasia, or premature study withdrawal (hazard ratio, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.19-0.65; P = .001) than dogs receiving furosemide at any time during the study.Torasemide was noninferior to furosemide as first line PO treatment for new onset CHF caused by DMVD. Torasemide significantly decreased risk of cardiac-related death or premature study withdrawal for cardiac reasons compared to furosemide. 2020 The Authors. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals LLC. on behalf of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

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Efficacy of oral torasemide in dogs with degenerative mitral valve disease and new onset congestive heart failure: The CARPODIEM study. - Physician's...

Animal Rescue Groups Try To Curb Pet Overpopulation As Some Shelters Are Overcrowded | 90.1 FM WABE – WABE 90.1 FM

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing animal control agencies and shelters across the country to suspend most nonessential veterinary services, including spay/neuter surgeries, according to animal rights groups.

Pet overpopulation is a persistent issue during normal times, resulting in millions of animals being euthanized each year, and, like with many other issues, the virus is exacerbating the problem.

The Humane Society of the United States is leading a coalition of national organizations to address the backlog of surgeries in a campaign they are calling #SpayTogether. The nonprofit Fix Georgia Pets is part of the coalition, providing matching funds to award $40,000 to Georgia animal shelters. The grant will allow organizations in the state to perform more than 1,300 spay/neuter surgeries.

The pandemic has hit some animal rescue groups hard, forcing them to temporarily suspend services that bring in revenue and seeing traditional fundraisers canceled because of social distancing.

Additionally, some medications and veterinary supplies have increased in cost because of disruptions to the supply chains, said Fix Georgia Pets Executive Director Caroline Hunter.

Fix Georgia Pets works to end pet overpopulation and specifically focuses on pockets of the state that have high reported rates of euthanasia and/or have limited animal control services.

Thats why we wanted to work with Spay Together. These groups had the foresight to make sure we didnt go backwards. So they created the stimulus fund to address the backlog, Hunter said.

The program will first target local nonprofit and municipal services with a backlog of surgeries to be completed and then work on community outreach, encouraging the public to have their pets fixed.

We try to offer reduced and low-cost spay and neuter to the public in those areas as well because, inevitably, if their animals are out their breeding, those animals eventually end up in the shelter, said Laura Littlebear, with the Humane Society.

Shelters have seen an increase in pet adoptions and fostering since people began spending so much time at home. The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia had a record high number of adoptions in one of the early months of the pandemic, said Samantha Threadgill, the groups development director.

Weve seen an outpouring of support, even with people who are having a hard time themselves. Its really great to see that people still want to care about the animals, Threadgill said.

While some shelters have seen an increase in the number of pet adoptions, some shelters are seeing an increase in pets being dropped off.

Because people are just financially hurting right now and not able to take care of their animals like they would want, and so theyve also a higher number of intakes during the pandemic, Littlebear said.

Spay and neuter is the only solution to pet overpopulation, said Littlebear, who hopes the campaign will spark the momentum needed for communities to make progress on this ongoing problem. I hope this can be a program that people can look at and really try to duplicate going forward and this not be a one-time effort.

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Animal Rescue Groups Try To Curb Pet Overpopulation As Some Shelters Are Overcrowded | 90.1 FM WABE - WABE 90.1 FM

Raccoon is Atlantic County’s fourth case of rabies – breakingac.com

A raccoon found in Hamilton Township is Atlantic Countys fourth confirmed rabies case this year.The raccoon was discovered by the two dogs of the homeowner on Ken Scull Avenue, public health officials said.The three animals started fighting, but the owner was able to get the dogs inside and call for help.The raccoon was sent to the lab for testing, and the confirmation came in Friday.Both dogs are currently vaccinated, but received a rabies booster for added protection and were placed on a 45-day informal confinement as a precautionary measure.This is the second raccoon to test positive for rabies in Atlantic County this year. The other was in Galloway Township.The other two rabies cases involved bats.Atlantic County health officials remind residents of the importance of vaccinating their pets against rabies, a viral disease that can be fatal if left untreated. Rabies vaccinations also help protect pet owners and their family members from contracting the disease from an infected pet.The Atlantic County Animal Shelter is holding its next free rabies vaccination clinics for dogs on Sunday, Aug. 23 and cats the next Sunday, Aug. 30. Appointments are required and can be made online at http://www.aclink.org/animalshelter.

Dogs and cats who receive an initial rabies vaccination are not considered immunized until 28 days after the vaccine has been administered, therefore it is strongly recommended that any animal newly vaccinated or those too young to receive the vaccine (less than three months) not be left outdoors unattended.Situations have arisen where pet owners have left unvaccinated or newly vaccinated pets outdoors where they have sustained exposures to known or suspect rabid animals, resulting in euthanasia or four to six months strict confinement.Public health officials also advise residents to teach your children to stay away from wild, stray or aggressive animals. Never feed or touch wild animals or try to keep them as pets.If you are bitten by an animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water and seek medical attention. All bites should be reported to the Atlantic County Division of Public Health at 609-645-5971.

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Raccoon is Atlantic County's fourth case of rabies - breakingac.com

Mother and baby camel thrive at Jasper farm after rare procedure – Beaumont Enterprise

Dr. Ron McMurry MD shares some treats with some of his camels on his farm in Jasper County. They know he always has treats for them. Photo made on August 4, 2020. Fran Ruchalski/The Enterprise

Dr. Ron McMurry MD shares some treats with some of his camels on his farm in Jasper County. They know he always has treats for them. Photo made on August 4, 2020. Fran Ruchalski/The Enterprise

Photo: Fran Ruchalski, The Enterprise / The Enterprise

Dr. Ron McMurry MD shares some treats with some of his camels on his farm in Jasper County. They know he always has treats for them. Photo made on August 4, 2020. Fran Ruchalski/The Enterprise

Dr. Ron McMurry MD shares some treats with some of his camels on his farm in Jasper County. They know he always has treats for them. Photo made on August 4, 2020. Fran Ruchalski/The Enterprise

Mother and baby camel thrive at Jasper farm after rare procedure

Sybil and her new baby, Ivan, are enjoying life on their Jasper farm, grazing the hedgerows and pastures with their growing herd.

But that all seemed like a slim hope just months ago.

Now, thanks to a rare procedure performed at Texas A&M Universitys Large Animal Hospital, the camels not only have a new chance at life, but could one day impact the lives of others dealing with adversity.

Ivan was born in May at the Jasper farm of Joanna and Ron McMurry after his mother recovered from an extensive hip surgery last fall, but that wasnt always the plan.

Sybil was supposed to go back to (the LAH) for the birth, but that was before the pandemic started to ramp up, Ron, a Jasper physician, said.

Ivan now spends his days close to his mothers side or playing with his cousin thats about the same age; and Sybil seems to be getting along well despite the ordeal that first introduced her to the staff at Texas A&M University.

The 7-year-old dromedary camel, one of the first the McMurrys obtained in their herd of six, last summer developed a mysterious limp that concerned her owners. She was pregnant at the time and seemed to be in great discomfort.

X-rays at Texas A&M Universitys LAH revealed that Sybil had somehow dislocated a hip.

It was hard for us, Joanna said. We didnt really know what the chances were for her or the baby.

Ron said he knew an injury like Sybils typically ended in euthanasia, but he hoped for a chance to save the pair.

In September, LAH surgeon and assistant professor Kati Glass told The Bryan-College Station Eagle that she knew there would be challenges if they attempted the surgery.

We were very worried, and I spoke to a bunch of surgeons for a bit of advice while preparing for surgery, Glass said.

Those people were very doubtful. ... The challenge is the force it takes to get the (hip) back into socket with muscles so big, and then keeping that hip in the socket.

Ron was told most of the doctors who had experience with hip surgeries for camels did not have favorable results, even if the hip is reset.

Still, the McMurrys and the staff at the LAH persisted, and after some nerve-wracking attempts to set the hip in its proper place the surgery was a success.

Since the procedure, Ron said Sybil hasnt shown any issues related to her injury.

And while she wasnt able to make it to College Station for the birth, she has had a few visitors at her farm.

There were some students that had worked with her at (Texas A&M University LAH) that were interviewing for positions in Jasper and came to check in on her, he said.

While Sybil was at the hospital last fall, students learning at the LAH threw her a baby shower and celebrated her recovery.

Sybils current life may be carefree at the moment, even with a young one tagging along beside her, but that doesnt mean her and her herd arent living with purpose.

Ron said he was inspired to raise camels after he started learning about their unique physiology and hearing stories of how people rely on camels milk to treat chronic diseases.

Researchers and health advocates have been interested in two components of camels milk, lactoferrin and immunoglobulins, believed to be associated with benefits for the immune system. Homeopaths have credited its high zinc content with improving insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes.

Specifically, Ron was fascinated with testimonials from parents who reported great improvements for their children dealing with autism spectrum disorders after being introduced to regular servings of camels milk.

Some studies on children diagnosed with autism between the ages of 2 and 12 who used cows milk as a placebo reported improvements to behavior, but none of those claims have been validated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Until someone does a comprehensive study, Ron said, any benefits from camels milk will remain just an anecdotal story, which is why he decided to work toward having a producing camel farm that could one day facilitate the kind of controlled study that might help reveal some concrete answers.

There very well may be something to it; and, if there isnt, I want to know that, too, he said.

The McMurrys recently obtained another camel from a farm in Kansas. Bita soon will give birth to a new playmate for Ivan.

Camels can typically only be milked between 8 and 18 months after giving birth, but can sometimes produce milk for up to three years.

Ron said he would like to have 15 producing camels at the farm before he could consider conducting a study with a medical research school on the milks effects.

jacob.dick@beaumontenterprise.com

twitter.com/jd_journalism

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Mother and baby camel thrive at Jasper farm after rare procedure - Beaumont Enterprise

Saving Lives Together | Opinion | chathamstartribune.com – Chatham Star-Tribune

Not too long ago, county and city intake shelters were commonly known as the pound, and lifesaving for these animals in care was all too often not a priority. Thousands upon thousands adoptable animals were needlessly euthanized annually and shelters had a negative image of where animals went to be euthanized. Citizens and animal advocates recognized that this was not right, and things started to change for the better for these animals over the years.

Virginia has some of the best recording and tracking of animal shelter and rescue incoming and outgoing statistics as required by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). National organization like Best Friends and Petco have also emphasized how tracking this data can help direct resources and assistance to areas in need. Majority of the animal welfare organizations, shelters and rescues realized that by working together, and using the VDACS data, regions of the state that were struggling to save lives could be identified, and assistance / resources offered to improve outcomes. In 2019, the average save percentage for all Virginia animal shelters and rescues was 89%. While this is a great thing, many of us believe that we can do better, and as a state achieve an overall save percentage of over 90%. When asked, most would say that we should do everything possible to save these animals that are counting on us.

I have to believe that, like myself, people that work in the animal welfare field were drawn to it not for the great hours, or pay, but because they wanted to make a difference for animals in need. By this logic, every animal shelter should strive to save as many as possible and I would argue that if they arent, they are in the wrong line of work. So why have shelters that put a high emphasis on saving lives been vilified by some? Isnt saving lives of animals in need what we are here for? When I was hired as the Director of the Pittsylvania Pet Center I said that I thought through collaboration, hard work and community support, maintaining a save percentage of over 90% for our animals was completely achievable. I also said that we would not allow any animals to needlessly suffer, or adopt out animals that were identified as a danger to other animals or the public, and we have stuck by these core beliefs.

Critics of no kill shelters claim that no kill shelters are overcrowded, animals are needlessly suffering, dangerous animals are adopted out and the quality of care for the animals is substandard. This cannot be farther from the truth at the Pittsylvania Pet Center. I have also heard that we have a high save rate because we only take in highly adoptable animals and refuse animals in need of euthanasia by owners that cant afford to go to a veterinarian. The reality is that 50% of our animals received in 2019 were sick, or injured and we had several that needed surgery to save. We received over 30 puppies and dogs with Parvo, and over 100 cats/kittens with Panleukemia and Calici virus. We also received over 60 kittens in need of bottle feeding. While it is true that we lost several of these animals while being treated, none were left to suffer, and majority of the animals that were euthanized at the Pet center, were ones that were not responding to treatment, and we did not want them to suffer. Every life lost is mourned by our staff that gives their heart and soul to their job. Unfortunately, there are still shelters who will take animals like these in and immediately euthanize instead of trying to save them. We choose to take comfort in the fact that 95% of all of our animals received were live releases. As our outreach programs, foster families, transfer partners and community support has grown, despite the pandemic, our shelter population is actually lower than previous years and we are still seeing majority of our animals saved. We are your county shelter and we are committed to our life saving mission. The staff and volunteers of our shelter work so very hard to ensure that every animal received is treated as a member of our family, and we will never stop the fight to save every animal that we can. You can label us as no kill, but we are committed to helping the animals that need us and our community, and saving every life we can. Our citizens should expect nothing less from our shelter, and with your support, we will continue to make things better.

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Saving Lives Together | Opinion | chathamstartribune.com - Chatham Star-Tribune

Bat in county tests positive for rabies | Free – Ashland Daily Press

A bat in Washburn County tested positive for rabies this week, the county's public health department said on Thursday, Aug. 6.

Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. Rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms appear. In Wisconsin, skunks and bats are the most likely animals to carry the rabies virus, but it has also occurred in dogs, cats, foxes, raccoons, and livestock.

Rabies is contracted by exposure to a rabid animal. Most of the recent human rabies cases in the United States have been found through testing to have been caused by a bat variant of the rabies virus. Anyone who is bitten or scratched by a bat should wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water and seek medical advice immediately.

"Most people know when they have been bitten by a bat, but because bats have small teeth which may leave marks that are not easily seen, there are situations in which you should seek medical advice even in the absence of an obvious bite wound," the department said. "For example, if you awaken and find a bat in your room, see a bat in the room of an unattended child, or see a bat near a mentally incapacitated or intoxicated person, seek medical advice and have the bat tested."

Pets, particularly cats, may often catch bats. If a dead or injured bat is found near a pet, the bat should be sent in for testing and the pet quarantined until the results are known.

"Keep your pets current on their rabies vaccines," the health department advised.

The Health Department can assist with getting the bat tested. If a bat that just bit a person or pet is killed or captured, keep the dead bat in the refrigerator until it can be brought to the Health Department. Do not freeze it.

Animals can only be shipped to the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene for testing on weekdays, so if the bite occurs on the weekend, keep the bat refrigerated until the following Monday. If it is alive, keep it in a secure container and contact the Health Department to arrange for humane euthanasia.

Rabies Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (rabies vaccine series) should be started in most cases involving a bat bite and can be discontinued if the bat tests negative for rabies. Bats are more likely to carry rabies than other animals in Northwestern Wisconsin, and the method used to kill a bat that has just bitten someone often leaves the brain untestable for rabies.

If preventative treatment is obtained promptly following rabies exposure, virtually all cases of rabies will be prevented.

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Bat in county tests positive for rabies | Free - Ashland Daily Press

Catholic politician in the Netherlands seeks leadership of left-wing party – Crux: Covering all things Catholic

More than a few eyebrows were raised in Dutch Catholic circles, when word came out of Sigrid Kaags candidacy to become the party leader of D66, a social-liberal party of The Netherlands known for its anti-religious attitude. Kaag, a big favorite for the leadership role, is a deliberate liberal and a practicing Catholic at the same time, and many were wondering if those two things can really go hand in hand?

On June 21, 2020, Kaag announced her candidacy to become the party leader ahead of the Dutch general elections scheduled for March 17, 2021. In her announcement, Kaag explicitly stated her wish to become the first female Prime Minister of the Netherlands.

The Dutch probably wont associate Kaags party with the Catholic faith, or with any faith for that matter. As the party writes on its own website: The party consciously sought and still seeks to break the power of traditional class and religious alignments. Still, its this party to which Sigrid Kaags heart has belonged for years. She has been an active politician since 2017 and is currently the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.

However, Kaag, who is fluent in six languages and married to a Palestinian atheist, still thinks her choice for D66 in 2017 was a logical one.

I believe people have been given the knowledge and the power to express their own talents. People therefore are responsible themselves for doing the right thing and refusing to do the wrong thing, she said.

She has always been a person of faith, she told the Dutch Catholic weekly Katholiek Nieuwsblad in an interview on her way to Rome, where she also visited the Vatican.

I was born and raised a Catholic. My father studied at the conservatory, but also at the Catholic music school. As an organist he was often involved in the Latin High Mass and as a girl I gladly went along to help. I was often an altar girl for practical reasons: The robes fitted me. As a girl I was tall enough, while the boys were all too small. So, faith came to me in my youth. It has always stayed with me.

When her eyes were opened to all the suffering going on in the world, she said she did wonder where God was in all of this. Still, she kept the faith.

Like Mary. I cannot say that she is my example in this earthly 21st century, but I connect a lot to her suffering. As a human and a mother, she made the ultimate sacrifice. In Marys suffering, I recognize the suffering of people and the feeling of being forced to look on in pain, while still trusting God.

While studying Middle Eastern studies in Cairo, faith was always a resting point for her. And she still regularly lights a candle or prays, also to the saints. She admits she doesnt read the Bible much. In that sense, she thinks Protestants are better Catholics. They have better knowledge of the biblical texts. She says she uses the Bible la carte: I regularly look up something.

Back in Cairo, she was a member of a choir, which brought her into contact with the Coptic Christian community. The great thing about the Middle East, she notes, is that faith is a part of almost everyones identity.

If you live in a predominantly Islamic country, and I say this without any cultural prejudice or judgment, it is sometimes pleasant to go to church. Its something you recognize from your childhood. It gives a sense of security.

The severe persecution of the Coptic community in Egypt is therefore a matter close to her heart. Kaag says she supports the community, but she does so on a personal basis, and not as part of her current portfolio: That wouldnt be appropriate.

She separates her personal faith as much as possible from her work and her political decision making.

Ive had to negotiate all my life about complex issues. It doesnt help taking your personal emotions and feelings into the matter. That is a private matter, she said.

Nevertheless, the liberal Catholic hopes that her faith will resonate in her political choice for humanity.

Also, in the way I strive for equal opportunities for everyone. Those are core values, which I believe you can shape in a humanistic way, but at the same time can be inspired by faith, Kaag explained.

She recognizes the importance of religion in the fight against undesirable practices, such as persecution, female circumcision, and child marriage.

Faith can also be used to empower people to change things based on their own values. In other words, to have a positive effect, to bring about certain behavior, she said.

Kaag is convinced that things come to you for a reason, but she finds it disrespectful to see her political career as a secular calling.

Politics is not a sacred mission. It is too earthly for that. Especially the way politics are often practiced today. I mean that it is often too much about material things. A calling is about something bigger than yourself. A way of sacrificing yourself. I think politics is never like that.

When asked, she told Katholiek Nieuwsblad the secular nature of your party has never bothered her.

On the contrary. This is a party where all movements and beliefs are welcome. I have always found that very pleasant, and I have never felt my faith and my politics to be incompatible. So, I am not afraid to say that I am a Catholic. I dare not say if I have one with me now, but in most handbags, I have one or two rosaries, Kaag said.

In her youth, she said she learned not only to take responsibility, but also that things happen as they should.

Whoever you are, you need to keep an eye out for the other person. That is also what I have been told, that you take care as much as possible of people who are vulnerable. That is something thats important to me. And still you fail. Thats what happens in life. You have to dare to remind yourself that you are a person who makes mistakes, she said.

When the Dutch Catholic weekly asked her if that is because you learn something from your mistakes, Kaag answered in the affirmative.

Yes. Yet I dont know if people in general do. Just look at the hardening and roughening of society. When I look at the core of society, and how we are developing, then its important that we uphold those values. It determines who we are as humans.

When asked why many Christians denounce her political party because its views run counter to their beliefs, he reacted with a little surprise.

Perhaps it is because D66 has made some smaller proposals in the past that, when added together, may give the impression that everything related to faith should be banned from politics, she said.

Katholiek Nieuwsblad the pressed the politician on the D66s views on medical ethics, which include support for abortion and euthanasia.

We have made certain choices in the Netherlands in matters such as abortion and euthanasia. I support that. I believe in the self-determination of every person, but I do not impose it on others, Kaag replied.

No one should ever get the idea that coercion is behind it. Matters like assisted suicide for healthy people over 75, requires careful consideration for example. And my party does that.

She was referring to a bill submitted by a member of D66 in July that would allow healthy individuals over the age of 75 to request assisted suicide.

Everyone realizes that finesse and mutual understanding are paramount in such sensitive themes. Its about life and death, it doesnt get any bigger than that, she said.

D66 may be a secular party, but at the same time we all political parties must continue to realize that faith has a place in many peoples lives. I have seen this in all places in the world where I have lived and worked. In politics I hope to make my voice heard and to balance out the debate, Kaag added.

This article was originally published in the Dutch Catholic weekly Katholiek Nieuwsblad on July 17th, 2020. It was translated for Crux by Susanne Kurstjens van den Berk.

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Catholic politician in the Netherlands seeks leadership of left-wing party - Crux: Covering all things Catholic

Pasco to end retail pet store sales of dogs and cats – Tampa Bay Times

DADE CITY Pasco County is poised to follow the lead of other Florida communities by banning pet stores from selling dogs and cats obtained from animal breeders.

On Tuesday, the commission gave its initial nod to an ordinance that would prohibit the retail pet sales but would encourage such shops to partner with animal rescue organizations and shelters which often are searching for ways to connect unwanted animals with those seeking pets.

The final hearing on the ordinance is set for September 8.

Pasco County has previously restricted the sale of dogs and cats in public areas such as flea markets and roadside stands, a first step in trying to protect both the animals and the buyers from the problems posed by unlicensed breeders, pet dealers and kennels.

There has been a growing concern throughout Florida and the country involving the sale of puppies and kittens from pet stores, which primarily source these pets from large puppy and kitten mills, according to the county staff materials provided commissioners. These facilities often house animals in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, food, water, and socialization, which allow for heritable and congenital disorders, the spread of infectious diseases, and environmental contamination any of which may be present immediately after a sale or not until several years later.

More than 50 cities and eight counties in Florida have already passed similar ordinances, including Hillsborough County, which took the same action earlier this year.

Pasco officials met with other nearby animal services staff and knew that once Hillsborough made that decision, Pasco would need to be thinking about a similar action, said Michael Shumate, Pascos animal services director. Officials began to hear that pet shops in Hillsborough, which could no longer operate there due to the change, were considering heading north with their operations.

Shumate said there is only one such business in Pasco county, and Pasco officials can inspect and follow up on any concerns there.

Shumate said big-box stores like PetSmart and Pet Supermarket already source their dogs and cats through local pet rescues and shelters, including Pasco County Animal Services. For those stores, the sale of pet supplies is the focus of their business.

We want them to be able to collaborate with our local rescues and our shelter. Theyre not receiving a dime but they will open up space which allows the rescues to come in and showcase their adoptable animals, Shumate said.

The ordinance proposed does not impact so-called pocket pets such as hamsters, birds and other small animals often offered for sale at pet shops. It also does not prevent those searching for a new pet to reach out directly to rescues that have animals up for adoption or to search out individual breeders.

Ordinances like the one under consideration also are designed to help reduce animal over population, overcrowding in animal shelters, increased costs for taxpayers and euthanasia of pets. In recent years, Shumate said, Pasco Animal Services has implemented a number of processes which have earned it the designation of a no-kill shelter by significantly reducing the number of animals it must euthanize.

Commissioners praised Shumates efforts to improve animal outcomes.

Commission Chairman Mike Moore said his family has adopted two special-needs dogs from area rescues in the last year and that the county shelter has so many great dogs out there that can be adopted.

The state of animal services has gone through a total reversal in recent years, Commissioner Ron Oakley told Shumate. Youve done a great job ... Were moving to a better time for pets and animals in Pasco County.

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Pasco to end retail pet store sales of dogs and cats - Tampa Bay Times

From the Archives, 1998: Northern Territory to get referendum on statehood – The Age

Mr Howard said a referendum on statehood would be held in the NT in conjunction with the federal election.

He said the step would help revitalise and reinvigorate the Australian federation at its centenary.

The NT Premier, Mr Shane Stone, said the new state would probably be known as the State of the Northern Territory.

That, he said, would be no more contradictory than the name New South Wales.

Mr Howard said the new state would probably have three senators to start with and the number could increase with the population.

As a territory, the NT now has two senators while the six original states have 12 each.

Well need to talk about that, Mr Howard said.

Obviously you cant have 12 and I think that has been understood from the word go.

Mr Stone said he expected the adjustments could be made until the NTs population reached that of the least populous state, Tasmania.

That could take 30 years, he said.

Shane Stone, Chief Minister of the Northern Territory in 1998.Credit:Craig Golding

The NT is one of Australias fastest growing areas, with recent Australian Bureau of Statistics projections indicating that its population will more than double from 187,000 last year to between 344,000 and 476,000 in 2015.

The ABS also suggested Tasmanias population peaked at 473,500 and was like to fall to between 196,000 and 381,000 in 2051.

Mr Howard was dismissive of suggestion that the granting of statehood to the NT would invite the reintroduction of the active euthanasia law that was overridden by the Federal Parliament when it passed the Andrews bill.

I think its also fair to say that the composition of the Parliament of the NT has probably changed and attitudes on that issue may well have changed since it was last before the territory Parliament.

That is something that will come up.

Youve got to remember that once you go down the path of statehood, the ideal is that the territory should have essentially the same powers as the other states, otherwise theres no point in doing it.

You dont sort of give a state half the authority of the other states.

Mr Stone said the NT had been funded as a state for the past eight years, so the advent of statehood would cost the Australian taxpayer nothing.

The Federal Opposition said it supported the NT move to statehood but it should have involved much greater consultation.

On October 3, 1998, a referendum was held in the Northern Territory to decide whether the Territory would become a State of the Commonwealth of Australia. The referendum was narrowly defeated, 51.90% no to 48.10% yes.

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From the Archives, 1998: Northern Territory to get referendum on statehood - The Age

Panel Discussion on the End of Life Choice Bill Salient Magazine – Salient

On Wednesday the 5th August Salient attended a panel discussion on the End of Life Choice Bill. The Bill is a part of one of two referenda coinciding with this years General Election.'

The legislation according to the Act aims (a) to give persons who have a terminal illness and who meet certain criteria the option of lawfully requesting medical assistance to end their lives; and (b) to establish a lawful process for assisting eligible persons who exercise that option.

Three panelists participated in the discussion, including Dr Clive Aspin, a senior lecturer in health at Victoria University of Wellington, Paula Tesoriero MNZM, the Disability Human rights Commissioner, and Hon Ruth Dyson, veteran MP for the Labour party and a member of the Health Select Committee.

The panel, hosted by VUWSA along with VUWLSS and led by One News journalist Mei Heron, critically analysed the meaning and purpose behind this piece of legislation.

Tesoriero stated that in a poll conducted by Curia Market research during 2019, the results stated that 70-75% of people did not understand this legislation.

The same poll also stated how three quarters of participants also believed that the End of Life Choice Bill would enable patients to have life saving machines turned off as well as being able to refuse resuscitation.

However this is not the basis of the legislation as these things are already legal.

Renee Joubert, an executive Officer for Euthanasia-Free NZ said that the intent of the bill is to legalise assisted dying.

This includes patients from the age of 18 and according to the act itself does not require an eligible person to have tried any pain relief or palliative care before requesting a lethal dose.

For Aspin, it was the inequalities present within the current health system that was most concerning in relation to the bill.

We are dealing with a health system based on significant disparities.

Mori have a lower access to palliative care at the end of their lives in comparison with non-Mori, said Aspin.

Aspin said until such time as these disparities are eradicated, how fair is it to pose End of Life to the population.

Dyson questioned the complex criteria that patients had to meet in order to access assisted dying medication.

I want everyone to live their life the best they possibly can but also to die the best they possibly can.

In relation to the current bill Dyson believed that there would be people excluded which I personally would have liked to have been included as well.

A key area of discussion during the debate were concerns around safeguards to ensure that the implications of the bill were safe and knowledgeable.

Tesorieros main concern around this legislation was in regard to the adequate safeguards in order to protect against wrongful deaths.

Dyson said I believe there are much more rigorous safeguards than I would have had in.

I would like to be given the confidence that I as a Mori and anyone else in this country would have the same access as everybody else, said Aspin.

In retrospect, all of the panelists encouraged a familiarisation with the legislation.

The act has currently already been passed but in order to be introduced as a law, the outcome of the upcoming referendum will decide this.

See the original post here:

Panel Discussion on the End of Life Choice Bill Salient Magazine - Salient


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