nurse or spiritual caretaker in possession of a Completed Life Certificate to
assist suicides.” If a group of elderly grandees in the Netherlands calling
itself “Out of Free Will” succeeds with its plan for decriminalizing assisted
suicide, job advertisements like this will be appearing in the newspapers.
They have already begun collecting
signatures to lobby for a change in legislation.
interview in the NRC Handelsblad, three of them explain why the Netherlands
needs to grant anyone sane over the age of 70 the right to die with a
professionally-trained expert’s assistance. Under their plan the expert would determine
whether they are of sound mind and not depressed. A doctor would then confirm this assessment. After the
death, the expert would write up a report for the local euthanasia committee.
Only Dutch citizens would be eligible.
specialist suicide assistants will need to complete a “Completed Life” training
program and to join a professional association which will maintain standards of
professional, transparent and safe conduct.
Swaab, the head of the Amsterdam-based Netherlands
Institute for Neuroscience, and a leader of the group, explained that “Throughout
the animal kingdom, individuals are simply replaced, rather than patched up
endlessly.” Human beings are much the same and they should move on when it is
time to go.
The age limit of 70 is arbitrary. “Whether
it should be 65 or 90 is a good question,” says legal scholar Eugene Sutorius.
“We think that once someone has reached old age, he has proved abilities at
living. He can then choose to leave this life in a procedural, medicalised
The three spokesmen
told the newspaper that abuse of the law was unlikely to be a problem,
especially in view of the country’s positive experience with euthanasia. “It
was thought to be the first step on a slippery slope that would lead the
medical profession to lose its integrity,” says Mr Sutorius. “But I have seen
nothing of the kind happen.” ~ NRC
Handelsbad, Feb 8