ONE News readers have shared their overwhelming support for a terminally ill Wellington lawyer who says she has just "months or weeks left to live" and does not want to spend her final days "drugged out to the eyeballs".
Lecretia Seales, a 42-year-old policy adviser at the Law Commission, is taking an appeal to the High Court in Wellington to change an interpretation of the Crimes Act, which says it is illegal to aid or abet a person's suicide but does not define suicide, to allow doctors to help patients who are dying to die sooner.
Currently, the bill is read as outright banning doctors from assisting suicide.
Ms Seales' story was posted on the ONE News Facebook page and the majority of readers said she should have the right to decide when to die.
Suzy Gregory posted: "My heart goes out to Ms Seales, I lost my dear Mum just over a week ago. Her last 3 days were horrendous for a number of reasons, one of them being her last days came at a weekend and she was admitted to a surgical ward not oncology, my Mum had eye melanoma which had spread through her body.
"By day 3 after horrific pain and being unconscious we screamed at a Doctor to give her enough morphine to take her. Even though she would never come to, it was end of life, the Doctor said he couldn't break the law. Come on New Zealand it's time to change this ridiculous law.. Ms Seale I wish you a peaceful passing and I hope your wish comes true."
Christina Youngman said it was "time the laws were adjusted", adding it is "the 21st century let us die with dignity".
Maree Miller commented: "I hope she paves the way so if something ever happened to me that I could do the same and not put my family through this. Seen it too many times already."
Sarah Gill said: "Why can't she decide for herself??? It's HER BODY, HER LIFE and HER RIGHT TO DIE ON HER TERMS. While alive we all have the right to choose for ourselves re medical treatment etc...what difference does it make if she does it now or later? She is DIEING anyway. Same result. So it should be on her terms. If this happens to me in my life I will be "putting myself down" when the time comes."
Vaughan Rowe commented: "There surely is a time to let someone go.. with dignity. We allow this for our pets for reasons of humanity, why not for ourselves? do we have so little sympothy for our own suffering? For me this one is simple, let her make that choice. we dont need to encourage either way, just let the option be there."
However, the case is causing concern for groups who oppose euthanasia, like the Care Alliance, which says a dangerous precedent could be set if Ms Seales wins her case.
Dr Kevin Yuill, Anti-Euthanasia author, told ONE News that "with a legal precedent its very open to expansion", adding that "they might broaden it to include people that are suffering unbearably".
Facebook user Cameron Whalley shared the group's concern, posting: "I would think you'd have to get the legislation amended if you want this. I feel for this lady, but I also worry that euthanasia could be abused by family members who want the inheritance secured. A dicey one."
'I want to be able to say enough is enough' - Ms Seales' story
Ms Seales, who was diagnosed with an untreatable brain tumour in 2011 and has been left paralysed on the left side of her body, wants to make sure her doctor won't be prosecuted if they help her die.
"I want a doctor to be able to help me end my life peacefully when my life is no longer bearable," lawyer Andrew Butler said on Ms Seales' behalf.
"It is possible I won't be able to seek the help of a physician to die. I want to be able to say enough is enough and die peacefully with my husband around me. She says I cannot bear the thought of being fully incontinent and being unable to breathe properly."
She wanted to be able to say goodbye, and avoid a slow and "undignified death".
"I don't want to live out my final days and weeks where I'm drugged out to the eyeballs and I no longer recognise my husband," she said.
"I do not lack courage. If my death is manageable I would be able to manage it. But even with palliative care I cannot rule out it would be unbearable."
A bill by Labour MP Maryan Street to legalise assisted suicide was withdrawn in 2012 after not getting enough support from within the party.