Dutch MP Pia Dijkstra proposed a bill that would allow euthanasia for anyone over the age of 75 who no longer wants to live.
To be eligible a person would need to have “an intrinsic and consistent” wish to die, which would be confirmed by a second interview at least two months after the initial request. The lethal drugs would be administered by a doctor, nurse or psychologist, as long as the practitioner has sought a second opinion.
Dijkstra told Nieuwsuur: “There are plenty of examples of people who say, “I’ve had enough of life, I have children and grandchildren, they’re all doing well, but I’m detached, I don’t play a role in their lives anymore. The only thing waiting for me is decline and I don’t want to go through that.”
Currently the Dutch law allows euthanasia for people who are experiencing unbearable suffering with no prospect of improvement.
“The new bill is a logical extension of the current Dutch law”, says Renée Joubert, executive officer of Euthanasia-Free NZ.
“There is no logical reason why a lethal injection should be administered by a doctor. Why not a nurse, psychologist, counsellor, lawyer, or a profession created especially for this purpose?
“There is no logical reason why euthanasia should be limited to terminally ill people. It would be discriminatory to allow euthanasia for one type of suffering but not another. A person with a terminal illness does not necessarily suffer more than someone with a chronic illness or a disability. A person with a psychological condition such as grief, loneliness or depression may suffer as much or even more than a person with a physical condition.
“Suffering is subjective. Anyone, at any point in time, may feel that their particular suffering is unbearable. Anyone may feel that their condition is undignified and that they have suffered long enough.
“Once society moves away from a blanket ban on assisted suicide to a law with exceptions, there is no logical place to draw the line. Any line would be arbitrary and would discriminate against people who also feel that they are suffering unbearably.
“A law with exceptions would inevitably be extended, incrementally, towards assisted suicide on demand.
“The New Zealand law is not broken and does not need fixing. Yes, suffering needs to be addressed, regardless of whether it’s due to physical illness, mental illness, loneliness, abuse or poverty. However, legalising assisted suicide is not a workable response.”