Thursday, July 29, 2021

Netherlands euthanasia and systematic incremental extensions.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Irish Times published a letter today from Dr E Garcia, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Netherlands who rebutts a letter by David Tomkins that was published on July 28 who asserted that the evidence does not support that safeguards have been removed in the Netherlands. Dr Garcia wrote:
Here in the Netherlands over the last two decades, there has been a systematic incremental extension in the grounds for euthanasia, and a clear removal of safeguards.

These facts have been detrimental to the safety of patients at a vulnerable time in their lives.

Since the legalisation of euthanasia in 2002 for mentally competent adults, we now have child euthanasia (introduced via the Groningen Protocol in 2007), euthanasia for patients with psychiatric illnesses (88 such cases in 2020), and last year our supreme court legalised euthanasia for patients with advanced dementia.

The facts of that particular case involved a woman with dementia who had revoked her prior consent to be euthanised, and had to be restrained after she woke up during the administration of the lethal drugs.

In addition to the above, our government is currently examining proposals to permit euthanasia for children aged between one and 12.

There are now also “mobile health teams” known as “end of life clinics”, that are willing to travel to patients to administer the lethal drugs.

This practice is particularly worrying as it circumvents the safeguard of the existence of a good doctor-patient relationship before euthanasia can be administered.

No matter what your opinion is on the practice of euthanasia, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the incremental removal of safeguards has been a reality in the Netherlands. – Yours, etc,
Links to more information on this topic:

  • Legalizing euthanasia: What we can learn from the Netherlands (Link). 
  • Let's not romanticize the Dutch euthanasia experiment (Link). 
  • Legalizing euthanasia makes killing the norm, not the exception (Link). 
  • Study uncovers euthanasia based on loneliness in the Netherlands (Link).

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