The Corner

Politics & Policy

Dutch Euthanasia Is ‘Killing’

Apologists for euthanasia in the Netherlands often lie by omission. Rarely, for example, do they fully admit that the mentally ill are being killed. Nor do they discuss the conjoining of euthanasia with organ harvesting. Perhaps it a case of not seeing what they don’t want to see.

A piece by Dutch journalist Hasna El Maroudi, reacting against a Wall Street Journal op/ed by a Dutch parliamentarian — warning that activists want to now extend authority for euthanasia to the healthy elderly who believe they have a “completed life” — is a classic case in point.

El Maroudi decries the use of “killing” to describe euthanasia. From, “In the Netherlands, Doctors Care How You Live and Die,” published in the Huffington Post:

Doctors don’t kill their patients, they assist them with ending their lives. The difference between the two might not be clear to the dense, but is of great importance. If doctors would kill their patients, they would be punishable by law.

By framing euthanasia as ‘killing’, conservatives have long tried to block legislation, unsuccessfully. They fought the battle and lost. Now that the kill-frame has proven a failure, they’re going with something new, trying to turn back the hands of time by using fake news. Or as I like to say: constructed lies.

Well, no. The definition of “killing” is “to cause death” or “to end life” — which is accurate and descriptive of what happens when a doctor injects poison into a patient’s bloodstream. Indeed, it is homicide — no different in outcome — e.g. killing — than if the doctor shot the patient in the head.

Euthanasia apologists try to convince people that because most of those are killed in euthanasia have proffered at least some level of consent, it isn’t really killing. Again false.

In the Netherlands, doctors put more than 400 people to death each year — perhaps El Maroudi will accept that descriptive? — who have not asked to die. It is called “termination without request or consent” in the Dutch euthanasia lexicon. 

Would El Maroudi agree those homicides — murder under Dutch law that are never prosecuted meaningfully — are “killing”? Or would she prefer to call it something else — something more soothing and deflecting — because doctors do the lethal deed to end a life they consider not worth the living?

Euthanasia is homicide, e.g., the killing of a human being. Legalized murder one might say, and when without consent, it is murder that goes unpunished.

If El Maroudi would like to see an example of “constructed lies,” she should read her own piece.

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