Dutch Parliament to debate euthanasia for anyone over 70

The Dutch Parliament will debate a proposal to offer euthanasia for anyone over 70, whether or not they are terminally ill or in great pain. A euthanasia lobby group, "Vrijwillig levenseinde", or "Of free will", gathered more than 112,000 signatures on a petition. Only 40,000 signatures are required to force a debate.

The proposal is to train non-medical staff to administer a lethal injection to healthy people over 70 who "consider their lives complete" and want to die. These suicide assistants would receive government accreditation. Their job would be to check whether clients were not temporarily depressed and had a "heartfelt and enduring desire" to die.

Marie-Jose Grotenhuis, the campaign's spokeswoman, said: "We've been overwhelmed by the amount of reactions, especially because people took it so seriously and reactions were mostly positive." Her group will wait until after national elections on June 9 to ask Parliament to open the debate. Euthanasia was legalised in Holland in 2002 in the Netherlands and more than 2,500 cases were reported in 2009. ~ London Telegraph, Mar 10

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