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Euthanasia in The Netherlands

by Marthijn Uittenbogaard


In The Netherlands we have an euthanasia law. When you are terminally ill, very sick and in great pain et cetera, you can ask for euthanasia. Of course there are rules involved under which circumstances a doctor can kill such a person. I write kill, because that's what it is: you make someone dead. Like you kill a terribly hurt animal that has no chance of survival, only of dying slowly or with your help: quickly. Edward Brongersma was euthanized by a doctor, but that doctor was convicted afterwards. The doctor, named Flip Sutorius, was convicted on paper only: he got no prison time, no fine. It was a so called test trial. Brongersma wanted to die but he was not terminally ill.

Now politicians and a majority of Dutch citizens want to broaden the law so that persons of age can always ask for euthanasia, even if their medical conditions are still good. Some politicians say that anyone above 80 years of age should get this choice. Religious politicians are against such a law. And the socialist party SP is afraid that elderly people feel forced to 'choose' euthanasia because they feel they are a burden for society or for their family. Or because they are feeling very sad in an elderly home, where their conditions could be much better if they got better care. The SP argues that a better welfare state will improve the lives of many elderly people.

Some people want to commit suicide, later in life they are happy they did not do it. The other way around is also possible. It's never an easy decision.

Famous writer and opinion maker Arnon Grunberg writes today in the Volkskrant that prisoners also should get the right of euthanasia. Otherwise only the elite has this privilege. He writes that it's human to be in favor of self determination. I'm not sure if this column of him has to be read cynical or not.

Pulp television broadcaster SBS is now already recruiting people for a new television show. If you are above 18 and you are so masochistic that you are prepared to die in a live broad-casted snuff movie, then you can get your ten minutes of fame. You can fulfill your true calling in life (or should I write death?). A jury of 'S&M-professionals' will judge your 'performance', together with the performance of the euthanasia doctors. It's all legal, because only real certified doctors are allowed to be a S&M Master in this show and a notary will be involved for the official paperwork. No doubt the show will be very entertaining. People at home can of course 'televote'. Money must be made.

31 August 2017