Thursday, February 6, 2020

Dutch politicians push to debate last will pill again.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Assisted suicide is not the answer!
According to an NL Times article by Janene Pieters, a recent study concerning the "completed life" has led Dutch politicians once again to demand a debate on the "last-will-pill". Pieters reports:
The D66 has been advocating for euthanasia at the end of a full life for some time, but the two Christian parties in the coalition CDA and ChristenUnie are dead set against it. The VVD also has its doubts. The D66 already announced that it will submit a proposal for assisted suicide for people who are tired of life within a few weeks.
The "last-will-pill" or "completed life" debate concerns the legal right for physicians to assist the suicide of an otherwise healthy person who claims that their life is complete.

According to Pieters, a recent study indicates that thousands of elderly Dutch people would consider suicide, even when they are healthy, but the study also indicates that the last-will-pill should never become legal because the wish to die fluctuates. The article states:
The researchers found that the wish to die, as it emerged in the study, is not an established fact. This desire can diminish or even disappear if the person concerned's physical, financial, or living situation improves, or if they feel less lonely or dependent on others. The study also showed that this group of older people with a wish to die is "certainly not a healthy group". It mainly concerns people who have physical- as well as mental health problems, but are not seriously ill.

The committee, led by Els van Wijngaarden of the University for Humanistic Studies in Utrecht, interviewed over 21 thousand people over the age of 55 and 1,600 general practitioners. They also studied over 200 euthanasia requests, both rejected and executed. The committee's goal was not to make recommendations, but to determine the composition and size of the group of people who are not seriously ill, but who want their lives to end.
Studies by Canadian psychiatrist and researcher, Harvey Chochinov, found that the will to live fluctuates. Chochinov developed a tool known as Dignity Therapy which is being successful used to help people find purpose or meaning in living and not dying by lethal drugs.

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