Tauranga Public Lecture Series: The End Of Life Choice Bill: Choosing "a good death" - Dr Liezl van Zyl

Date Monday 4 November 2019
Time 5:15pm - 7pm
Location Lecture Theatre, Level 2 of the University of Waikato, Tauranga, Durham St
Presenter Dr Liezl van Zyl, Associate Professor in Philosophy at the University of Waikato
Contact Joanna Kearney
Contact email jkearney@waikato.ac.nz
Cost Free - Please register here

The focus of this talk is on The End Of Life Choice Bill, proposed by David Seymour and currently before the New Zealand Parliament, which would allow terminally ill patients to request assisted dying. Specifically, the question I will consider is whether the bill will enhance our ability to make important choices at the end of life, while still protecting vulnerable patients and maintaining the integrity of the medical profession.

Sooner or later, most of us reflect on the question, "How do I want to die?", or, stated otherwise, "What does it mean to die a good death?" Given that dying is a part of living, it forms part of the more general question, "What does it mean to live a good life?" And as with most things, people have different views about this. Some prefer to die a peaceful and painless death, with sufficient time to say their goodbyes and get their affairs in order, whereas others would like to pass away suddenly and quietly in their sleep. Yet others prefer a more remarkable ending, a noble death in the pursuit of some worthy end, or a fabulous death at the hands of a wild creature. The reality, of course, is that we usually have very little say in the matter. The dying process can be painful, undignified, drawn-out, untimely, and not at all fabulous. The question for society, then, is whether we owe it to others to help them realise their conception of a good death. Should our sole focus be on alleviating pain and discomfort, while waiting for death to come? Or should we also make it possible for people to choose when to die?

Dr Liezl van Zyl is an Associate Professor in Philosophy at the University of Waikato. She specialises in Ethics, in particular questions about character and right action as well as issues surrounding euthanasia, abortion, adoption, and surrogate motherhood. She is the author of Death and Compassion: A Virtue-based Approach to Euthanasia (2000), Towards a Professional Model for Surrogate Motherhood (2017, with Ruth Walker), and Virtue Ethics: A Contemporary Introduction (2018). Liezl completed her DPhil at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, before moving to New Zealand in 1998 to begin her employment at the University of Waikato.

Members of the public are invited to attend this free public lecture being held in the Lecture Theatre, Level 2 of the University of Waikato, Tauranga, Durham St on Monday 4 November. Complimentary drinks and nibbles will be served from 5.15pm and the lecture will begin at 6.00pm and conclude at 7.00pm. The Spring St parking building is open 24 hours and is free from 5.00pm.

Please register here.