According to the popular blog of lawyer and anti-euthanasia activist Wesley Smith, Dutch Radio Worldwide recently reported that the Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) is planning to expand its euthanasia guidelines to include forms of suffering that do not involve terminal illness.
"Until now, factors such as income or a patient’s social life played almost no role when physicians were considering a euthanasia request," Dutch Radio reports. "However, the new guidelines will certainly change that. After almost a year of discussions, the KNMG has published a paper which says a combination of social factors and diseases and ailments that are not terminal may also qualify as unbearable and lasting suffering under the Euthanasia Act."
The newly published paper states that as people age, they begin to suffer from "gradually worsening problems, which can include poor eyesight, deafness, fatigue, difficulty in walking and incontinence as well as loss of dignity, status, financial resources, an ever-shrinking social network and loss of social skills."
Even though these "ailments" aren't life threatening, they have a negative impact on the quality of life of the elderly. "Under the Euthanasia Act, a request for euthanasia may be honored only if a patient is undergoing unbearable and lasting suffering. The KNMG now says that, if non-medical factors such as income or loneliness are to be taken into consideration, other specialists must be consulted when a patient has requested euthanasia.”
In other words, if a patient can find a doctor to approve it, the government will allow a person to be euthanized for these reasons.
"This is compassion?" asks Smith. "Since 1973, when euthanasia was quasi decriminalized, Dutch doctors have gone from euthanizing the terminally ill who ask for it, to the chronically ill who ask for it, to people with disabilities who ask for it, to the mentally anguished who ask for it–and all legal because the 'guidelines' proved so elastic they had no snap back at all. And now, they want to target vulnerable and marginalized elderly people."
But not even this relaxation of the "guidelines" is enough. In the Netherlands, if a patient doesn't qualify for legal euthanasia, the KNMG now allows doctors to provide their patients with how-to-commit-suicide information–known as “auto euthanasia.”
The only thing more loose than the new "guidelines" is the way the Euthanasia Act is practically applied. As Smith points out, this country also turns a blind eye to technically illegal euthanasia killings such as infanticide and “termination without request or consent,” all of which generally go unpunished.
"The Culture of Death is voracious," Smith writes. "Once it begins to feed, it is never satiated, the categories of the killable, are never finally enough."
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