CHILDREN AND ASSISTED SUICIDE IN THE NETHERLANDS

Euthanasia and, to a lesser degree, assisted suicide have been widely and openly practiced in the Netherlands for years, yet they remained technically illegal until a law permitting them went into effect in 2002. In mid-August of 1999, the Dutch government published a proposal to formally legalize them. According to the proposal, euthanasia and assisted suicide would be legal if: The patient makes a voluntary request; The patient is suffering irremediable and unbearable pain (Note: Dutch court decisions have found that either “psychic” (emotional) or physical pain can be used to meet the criteria of “unbearable suffering.” Terminal illness has never been a requirement for euthanasia in the Netherlands.) All medical options must be exhausted; A second medical opinion must be sought; The euthanasia death must be “carefully carried out”; and Physicians must report each case. These provisions would have received little attention — other than a report that technical legalization of a current practice was set to take place — if another aspect of the proposal had not been noticed. The draft legislation also provided for legalization of euthanasia for children. Like a match to tinder, world attention was ignited on that aspect of the plan: “The most eye-catching aspect of the bill, and one that has focused international attention on the Netherlands, is that it would give children between the ages of 12 and 16 the right to request euthanasia and — with the doctor’s consent — have their wishes prevail even if their parents object. Those 16 and above would be treated as adults.” In the public eye, this provision was astounding. True, it had been common, but largely ignored, knowledge for years that disabled newborns were being euthanized in Holland. In fact, the Dutch Pediatric Association had issued guidelines in 1994 under which babies who were not terminally ill but who were mentally retarded or faced the prospect of living with chronic illness

org/site/not-for-adults-only/ .patientsrightscouncil. It would give children and young teens the legal right to request that their lives be ended with a lethal overdose of drugs. the rules let the doctor decide what is in the “best interests” of the baby. According to Dr. Pieter Sauer.could be eligible for the treatment of death. But this was different. This wasn’t a doctor’s decision. a co-author of the Association instructions. It wasn’t a parent’s decision. Retrieved from: http://www.

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