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Derek Miedema

Who shouldn’t be euthanized? Anyone?

The Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) is the body that represents Dutch doctors. In June 2011, they released a policy statement regarding the role of physicians in cases of assisted suicide and euthanasia, which takes steps toward enshrining euthanasia as a necessary part of Dutch medical care. Thirty years ago, this statement would never have been made, but acceptance of euthanasia has broadened over time to make this extreme position possible. It was 1973 when the first euthanasia case became known in the Netherlands. Physician Truus Postma killed her elderly mother with a morphine injection. She was given only a suspended sentence. Another well-known case in 1994, saw a doctor euthanize a 50 year old woman who was not terminally ill. He was found guilty by the Dutch Supreme Court but received no jail time. Though these cases remain controversial, they have contributed to the acceptance of euthanasia as a normal part of Dutch life. Euthanasia and assisted suicide were made legal in the Netherlands in 2002. Since then, the spread of euthanasia has grown at a more rapid pace. The Groningen Protocol is a prime example. Proposed in 2002, it became law in 2005. This protocol regulates the process of killing infants with life threatening illness and/or the prospect of great suffering throughout their lives. Finally, in 2009, a new proposal was made by a citizen’s initiative called “Uit Vrije Wil” (“By Free Choice”) to allow anyone over the age of 70 who, though not terminally ill, has had enough of life to be euthanized by a “specially trained care provider.” This could be a medical doctor, but not necessarily. This has yet to be passed into law but the idea of euthanasia for anyone, for any reason, is now on the table. Currently, the law in the Netherlands states that in order… Read More