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.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

Most Popular


For the First Time in Weeks, Relief Sweeps over Austin

Making the click-through worthwhile: The Austin bomber is done in by one of his own devices; some new numbers suggest that a small but significant portion of Trump voters are tiring of the chaos and aren’t showing up to support other Republicans in 2018; and the mixed news for conservatives coming out of the ... Read More

The Baleful Effect of #MeToo on Campus

Remember the series of hurricanes that pounded the Caribbean last summer? Something like that has been occurring on college campuses, as they're hit by one destructive mania after another: diversity, Title IX, anti-speech protests. Now it's the #MeToo Movement. In this Martin Center article, British academic ... Read More
Politics & Policy

March Mailbag

1. In response to this post, about the Fed and fiscal stimulus: “So are you saying that deficit spending is a free lunch because the Fed will keep inflation from happening? You say [extra government spending] won’t ‘raise economic output’ but what’s the harm of it if you’re right?” I see at least ... Read More


For your amusement, I hope, I’ve done a Jaywalking episode. It begins with a bit of the overture to Semiramide -- a Rossini opera I reviewed from the Met last week. Then I get into Russia and, after a while, China. The Marriott company fired an employee for “liking” a tweet by a Tibetan independence group. ... Read More