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Dutch Parliament Legalizes Euthanasia

on 2000/11/29 8:48:02 ( 1771 reads )


THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS: In a majority vote of 104-40, the Dutch parliament endorsed a bill on Tuesday, November 28, that will legalize the practice of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. Since 1993, doctors have followed approved guidelines set out by parliament, but euthanasia was still considered a crime. These guidelines professed that a patient of sound mind and suffering from an incurable disease could voluntarily request that they want help to die. This would be after the patient has explored all medical options and second professional opinions. In addition to the 1993 briefing, the new law allows patients to request for euthanasia in writing so that when illness, physical or mental, takes over, the doctor can use his own judgement. Quoting Health Minister Els Borst, "This will create security for doctors and patients alike. Doctors should not be treated like criminals." Switzerland, Columbia and Belgium tolerate euthanasia, and in Oregon, USA, doctor-assisted suicide for the terminally ill was made law in 1997. However, in the U.S., euthanasia remains illegal. Associated Press states, "In doctor-assisted suicides, the patient administers a lethal dose to him or herself. Under the new Dutch law a doctor can also do so directly." There is controversy in the general populace of undiscretionary abuse of the new law and moral rightness.

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