Netherlands Considers Euthanasia For Healthy People, Doctors Say Things Are ‘Getting Out Of Hand’

The proposed 'Completed Life Bill' would allow any person over age 75 to receive euthanasia. Even if they are perfectly healthy.

Politicians in the Netherlands are discussing the possibility of legalizing euthanasia for healthy people. The proposed “Completed Life Bill” would allow any person age 75 or over who decides their life is “complete” to receive euthanasia. It doesn’t matter if they are otherwise perfectly healthy.

 

Politicians in the Netherlands are discussing the possibility of legalizing euthanasia for healthy people. The proposed “Completed Life Bill” would allow any person age 75 or over who decides their life is “complete” to receive euthanasia. It doesn’t matter if they are otherwise perfectly healthy.

Under current Dutch law, a person only becomes eligible for euthanasia when they have a terminal illness and are suffering unbearably. Pia Dijkstra, an MP for Dutch political party D66, is preparing to introduce the Completed Life Bill. D66 spearheaded most of the groundbreaking socially progressive legislation for which the Netherlands is famous. They are historically a smaller party—they’ve never had a Prime Minister—but they’ve proven themselves to be politically effective.

What Would It Take For This To Pass?

D66 would eventually like to legalize euthanasia for any adult who wishes to die. They openly admit that the Completed Life Bill is a step towards realizing that goal. In March, D66 leader Alexander Pechtold was confronted on a political talk show by a 57-year-old man who said he wishes to die. He asked why the Completed Life Bill is only persons age 75 and older. “I have to wait 18 more years. I don’t feel like waiting 18 years. I want it now,” he said.

Pechtold replied, “It’s my personal opinion that in our civilization dying is an individual consideration. You didn’t ask to be brought into the world.” He went on to explain that currently there is political support for legalizing euthanasia for healthy elderly persons. “If we want to maintain that support and not disrupt the discussion then we have to take it step-by-step. In 2002 we passed the euthanasia law for unbearable suffering. In my view, Pia Dijkstra can now continue persuading parliament and the country to—in my own words and personal opinion—take the next step for our civilization.”

Ironically, the Dutch public news broadcaster decided to include a notice with the number for a suicide prevention hotline directly below where the video of Pechtold’s comments is embedded on their website.

If the Completed Life Bill comes to a vote in Parliament, it will most likely pass. Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy has said he is willing to enact it. The question is whether the bill will be placed on the legislative agenda.

In Dutch politics, no party ever wins a majority of seats in parliament. The largest party has to form a coalition with several smaller ones. National elections were held in March, and Prime Minister Rutte is currently negotiating with D66 and two Christian parties—the Christian Democratic Appeal and the Christian Union—about forming a coalition. Both Christian parties are opposed to the Completed Life Bill. The Christian Union in particular is likely to make preventing a vote on the bill a condition of joining the coalition.

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