The Netherlands was the first to cross this particular Rubicon. It legalised euthanasia in 2002 for people who doctors judged to be experiencing unbearable suffering.
Children as young as 12 are entitled to have their request to be killed considered. Parental consent is required up to 15, but parents have no veto once their child has reached age 16.
Euthanasia legislation began from a desire to deal with the most heartbreaking of cases, but over time the definition of ‘unbearable suffering’ was loosened. In 2017, two Dutch government ministers revealed plans for a “completed life” bill that would give anyone over 70 years of age the right to receive a lethal poison, cutting the doctor out of the equation completely. The proposal was eventually withdrawn, but many expect it to re-emerge in one form or another.
Campaigners for euthanasia and assisted dying frequently dismiss arguments about a ‘slippery slope’ where it becomes more and more common, but Holland is a case in point. The law has expanded to include people who might otherwise live for many years, from patients with dementia to mentally ill young people.
Many proponents of euthanasia and assisted dying support the procedures out of a sense of compassion and not wanting to see people suffer unnecessarily but, as the Continental example shows, it creeps and creeps until it becomes a lifestyle choice.
Read more at the Belfast Telegraph…