, writing for the online news service, , explores the incremental extension of euthanasia in The Netherlands from "unbearable and hopeless suffering" to euthanasia for depression.Nadette De Visser
Note: the Dutch law has not been amended. This 'bracket creep' has occurred since the law was passed in 2002 by interpretation only.
The reality is that unless euthanasia law is written only for: "Mrs McGillicudy in Room 17 on a Tuesday in May and only after 4:00 pm" it will be abused. What the legislators might see as limited will not and cannot be contained.
From the article:
The Dutch Debate Doctor-Assisted Suicide For Depression
A controversial new clinic that helps the chronically depressed end their lives has The Netherlands wrestling with state-mandated euthanasia.
In 2001 the Dutch legalized euthanasia. Their law, which went into effect in 2002, allowed doctors to end the lives of their patients in the context of a state health care system that emphasized close consultation with family physicians over many years. The termination of life was supposed to be limited to those with "unbearable and hopeless suffering" whose mental faculties were not impaired and who had no other hope of relief.
But recent revelations about the way euthanasia is practiced by one group in The Netherlands, especially for those suffering from psychiatric illnesses, is making even the Dutch feel uncomfortable. The new debate raises questions about the way appointed commissions judge these life-ending practices, and echoes the kinds of 'slippery-slope' criticisms often made by right-wing and religious parties in the United States.
Under the Dutch law, the patient must ask repeatedly to die, a second doctor has to agree in writing that euthanasia is justified, and the post-mortem panel made up of a doctor, a jurist and an ethical expert have to confirm that the legal requirements were met. Although the 2002 law always left open the possibility that psychological pain could be sufficient justification for euthanasia, the focus was on those suffering from terminal cancer and similar excruciating physical conditions.
Ten years passed, and practices evolved. In early 2012 a group called the Life-Ending Clinic went into operation for people whose personal physicians refused to terminate their lives or assist their suicides. The clinic has since tested the boundaries of "unbearable suffering." Among those it has helped to die: people with chronic depression and those who have signed their own euthanasia declaration in the early stages of dementia.
"We consider it self-evident that someone who is terminal can turn to euthanasia," Life-Ending Clinic Director Steven Pleiter told The Daily Beast. "Now we are entering a phase in which there will be more debate about patients who are not terminally ill, among them psychiatric patients and those with dementia."
Last year 749 people came to the Life-Ending Clinic with a euthanasia request, of which 133 were granted. Some of the clinic's numbers are significantly higher than the national average. In its own press release, the clinic says: "The figures over 2013 show a strong growth of euthanasia in these groups." Referred to are the clinic's stats in terminating the lives of those with dementia, which totals 18 times the national average, and the psychiatric patients, which the clinic euthanized five times more often.
The article goes on to discuss loosely related matters concerning the United States. You can read the full text HERE.
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