Listen to Dutch expert on ‘death with dignity’

by Kathryn Swegart, central maine.com, 3 May 2017

Ms Swegart pens a Letter to the Editor urging people in Maine – where yet another assisted suicide bill has been introduced – to consider the lessons from the Netherlands.

In 1994, Holland became the first nation to officially legalize assisted dying. At that time, it was the “odd exception” for patients to choose assisted dying. It was seen as a last resort. Few patients with psychiatric illnesses or dementia chose assisted dying.

In 2015, one in 25 deaths were the consequence of assisted dying. Suicides rates have also gone up. There is a strong public movement toward euthanasia for children ages 1-11. Statistics show a rise in those who choose assisted dying among those suffering from psychiatric illness, dementia, the aged, lonely, and bereaved.

Dr. Theo Boer is a professor of health care ethics in Holland and served on a regional committee that reviewed cases of assisted dying. His description of the slippery slope is disturbing.

Boer states “right to die advocates see Dutch law as a step towards radical rights, such as offering lethal pills to anyone over 70.” Boer further states, “I can’t help but feel we — the Dutch — were naïve on this issue.”

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