Human Exceptionalism

Some Dutch Pharmacists Say No to Euthanasia

As we move into a morally polyglot society–with the culture of death rushing to the fore–the question of medical conscience will become increasingly hot button. 

This is apparently already occurring in the Netherlands where many pharmacists apparently refuse to dispense drugs for use in lethal injection doctor-administered homicides. From the DutchNews.nl story:

Dutch pharmacists sometimes refuse to provide the drugs needed by people who have chosen to end their lives through euthanasia, the NRC reports on Wednesday. Euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands since 2002 under strict conditions and if approved by two doctors.

Stop the tape! “Strict conditions” my right nostril.

Back to the story:

Although only doctors have the legal right to decide about euthanasia, pharmacists’ asscociation KNMP thinks pharmacists have a right to their own opinions. ‘A pharmacy is not a shop where deadly drugs are just handed over’, an association spokesperson told the programme. During the programme one doctor complains that his painstaking and regulated preparations for euthanasia are sometimes blocked at the last minute by a pharmacist who ‘has never even seen the patient.’

The KNMP suggests a conscience protection.

Although they have no official role in the euthanasia process, pharmacists are not legally obliged to make drugs available, the NRC says…

The KMNP wants pharmacists to become part of the euthanasia law. It should also be possible for pharmacists who do not wish to cooperate to refer a doctor to another pharmacy, the association told the programme.

Ah, but that protection could be less than meets the eye. The Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) has opined that euthanasia-dissenting doctors have a duty to refer to a colleague they knew is willing to kill.

If the pharmacist’s protection included such a duty, it would require all pharmacists to be complicit in the taking of a human life when asked to dispense lethal drugs.

No! Dissenting professionals should not be forced to have innocent blood on their hands. A conscience clause involving euthanasia should allow for total non-participation and cooperation by any and every medical professional.

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