Dutch concern over bill for ‘completed life’ euthanasia


A Dutch legislator has submitted a private member’s bill to allow “completed life” euthanasia. Pia Dijkstra, of the D66 party, was ready to table her proposal earlier in the year -- but it seemed tactless to do so in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill would allow people over 75 who feel that they have come to the end of their life and have a persistent wish to die to ask for euthanasia.

"There is a group of elderly people who have finished their lives. They say: I go to sleep every night with the hope that I won't wake up again. I want to make euthanasia possible for that group under strict conditions," Dijkstra told the media. "The problem is getting bigger now that the difference between your biological and your biographical life is increasing thanks to advancing medical conditions."

Two of the Christian parties in the governing coalition are strongly opposed to the idea. ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers said: "I find it extremely painful that at a time when older people feel extra vulnerable, D66 is submitting a proposal that we know will lead to increased anxiety in many older people. If corona has made anything clear to us, it is that real attention and good care make the difference in a human life."

Harry van der Molen, of the CDA party declared: "As far as the CDA is concerned, there will be no completed life law, but we will tackle the causes of loneliness. Especially when people feel alone, abandoned or lost, they need attention or care."

According Ms Dijkstra, fears that more elderly people will take their own lives are baseless. "It is a small group, someone must be at least 75 years old. … I put extra emphasis in my law on the professional end-of-life counsellor, who enters into discussions with people about their wish to die. He does not assess whether it is possible, but looks where that wish comes from and whether there are alternatives. I also pay more attention to the family and the general practitioner or treating doctor."

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge




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