Children between the ages of 1 and 12 could soon be euthanized by doctors in the Netherlands, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge told Parliament last Tuesday.
De Jonge said the new policy would see around five to ten terminally ill children legally executed every year.
According to the NL Times, doctors are presently only permitted to “give palliative care, like sedation, or withhold nutrition over an extended period of time until the patient dies.”
Doctors, who have been calling for more regulation, say there is a “grey area” between normal palliative care and active life termination.
The Health Minister said his proposal will protect the interests of children and will afford more transparency to the “grey area.”
The Netherlands became the first country to legalize euthanasia in 2002. Since then, the country has seen an increase in those requesting death by assisted suicide.
Cases include a man who was killed by doctors because he was an alcoholic; a 45-year-old woman, and a woman in her 20s, who had traumatic childhood memories; a 54-year-old woman who had a pathological fear of germs; and a 34-year-old mother who was chronically depressed.
It was also reported that a doctor in the Netherlands “euthanised” an elderly woman against her will.
In the first-ever case of its kind, Dutch authorities accused the doctor of performing euthanasia on an unwilling patient after a regional review board found the doctor had “overstepped the mark” by euthanising a 74-year old woman whose final will was “unclear and contradictory.”
However, a court in The Hague ruled that it is not necessary to obtain confirmation of the request when a patient is no longer able to express his or her wishes. The judges also noted that the doctor did well not to ask the patient herself if she wanted to die as it might have caused “agitation.”
In her final moments, the elderly woman reportedly struggled with hospital staff and attempted to prevent the doctor from giving her the lethal injection.
Euthanasia in the Netherlands is getting so out of hand that 200 Dutch doctors took out an advertisement in a major newspaper, which stated: “[Assisted suicide] for someone who cannot confirm he wants to die? No, we will not do that. Our moral reluctance to end the life of a defenceless man is too great.”
Death is the final indignity, no matter what form it takes. The message of assisted suicide deceptively suggests otherwise. Euthanasia, the ‘good death’, cannot be preached without falsely portraying suicide as a solution for some.
The notion that suicide is, at times, the best option will no doubt have a tragic impact on vulnerable people who might have otherwise recovered, at least to the point where they no longer wish to take their own lives.
In the following video, Mark Powell explains in more detail the problems with euthanasia and why there is no such thing as a ‘good death’: