Thursday, February 4, 2021

Netherlands government intends to extend euthanasia to children but not to people who are "tired of living", after the March election

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The reported yesterday that the government had drawn up a list of "controversial topics" that would be dealt with by the government after the March 17, 2021 election. One of the topics that was not on the list was expanding euthanasia to people who are "tired of living." 

The Netherlands Health Minister, Hugo de Jonge stated that the government intends to extend euthanasia to children, after the March election. It is likely that they decided that one euthanasia expansion category was enough for now. 

Sign and share the Petition opposing child euthanasia in the Netherlands (Link).

In July, 2020 I reported that a bill to extend euthanasia in the Netherlands to healthy people who are "tired of living" was submitted by Pia Dykstra (D66 party). An article by Janene Pieters in the NL Times reported that:

The legislative proposal allows people over the age of 75 who feel that they have come to the end of their life and have a persistent wish to die to ask for euthanasia.
Pieters also reported that Harry van der Molen (CDA party) told the Telegraaf news:
"As far as the CDA is concerned, there will be no completed life law, but we will tackle the causes of loneliness. Especially when people feel alone, abandoned or lost, they need attention or care."

The reported on October 13 that de Jonge announced that the Dutch government will permit child euthanasia. According to the

Health minister Hugo de Jonge has told MPs in a briefing that work is progressing on plans to make it possible to help terminally sick children aged between one and 12 to die, in limited circumstances.

De Jonge said that he wants to ensure there are ‘more legal guarantees for doctors’ who take the decision to end the life of a child, as well as transparency for healthcare staff and parents, and protection for the rights of children. 

Reports indicate that de Jonge plans to amend the euthanasia regulations, but not amend the law. DW news reported:

De Jonge added that current laws would not need to be amended. Rather, doctors would be exempted from prosecution for carrying out an approved euthanasia on a child.

The Netherlands law permits euthanasia for children as young as 12, with parental consent, people over the age of 16 can consent to euthanasia. The Groningen Protocol is a eugenic policy that permits euthanasia of newborns with disabilities. The proposed change would allow euthanasia for children (1 - 12).

Similar to the Groningen Protocol, that permits euthanasia of newborns with disabilities, the government would approve a set of guidelines to permit euthanasia for children under the age of 12 without actually changing the law.

The Dutch government wants to avoid the debate because of the contentious nature of the issue, but also because the four party coalition government includes two Christian parties who don't want to vote on the issue which may lead to their political defeat in the upcoming March 17, 2021 election. 


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