Netherlands: Bill calling for “less strict” euthanasia
8 March 2012
"The elderly are asking for the right to assisted suicide," says Dutch daily De Volksrant, as the parliament this Thursday discusses a bill presented through a citizens' initiative by an association called Uit Vrije Wil (“Their Free Will’”). The association supports the right to assisted suicide. In a four month period, Uit Vrije Wil gathered 120,000 signatures, including those of many political leaders, in support of a bill to allow assisted suicide for people over 70 years of age if they consider their lives as completed. The association says that the current euthanasia law, passed ten years ago, is very strict and applies only to those "in unbearable pain and with no other outcome".
The proposed bill "is a strong sign of the times," says De Volksrant in a leader article. It notes that this is "a pressing social issue," even if the project has "no chance" of success. Members of government and the Christian-Democrats are "at the heart of power and impede all debate" on the issue, and "to keep the peace, the conservative VVD does not want this hot potato". The end result is that "while the issue is discussed in the society at large, the political discussion is frozen," the paper says.