Human Exceptionalism

What’s “Choice” Got to Do With Dutch Euthanasia?

I find it amusing that the Dutch media think this is a big story. Doctors have been euthanizing patients who never asked to be killed almost from the inception of the country’s euthanasia license, and nothing meaningful is done about it. (Worst case scenario: Keep medical license, receive 2 week suspended sentence.)

But this is kind of new. A doctors’ committee decided to euthanize a dementia patient. From the Dutch News.NL story:

A 64-year-old woman suffering from severe senile dementia has become the first person in the Netherlands to be given euthanasia even though she could no longer express her wish to die, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday. Euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands under strict conditions. [Me: The usual crock!  The guidelines are not enforced.] For example, the patient must be suffering unbearable pain and the doctor must be convinced the patient is making an informed choice. The woman was a long-time supporter of euthanasia but became unable to make this clear as the disease progressed. Nevertheless, a medical committee approved her right to die, the paper says.

Yes, I know the story said the family supported the killing. That has nothing to do with the law.

And notice the blatant bootstrapping of an expanded killing license, which we have seen recently with Dutch doctors adding lonliness and finances as qualifying for “unbearable suffering:”

The case has serious implications for Dutch euthanasia law because it means patients who are no longer able to state their wish can still be helped to die, Constance de Vries, who acts as a second opinion doctor for euthanasia cases, told the paper.

Note, the law didn’t change. The euthanizers decided they could expand it with impunity. They are right, of course.  Euthanasia is beyond effective control in the Netherlands.

Folks, believe me when I tell you that “protective guidelines” are not really meant to protect, but give the false illusion of control. Once you accept killing as an acceptable answer to the problem of human suffering, “choice” has increasingly less to do with it.

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