Care Not Killing has strongly condemned a Dutch End of Life Bill that would extend euthanasia to anyone over the age of 75, even if they have no illness or disability.
Dr Gordon Macdonald, Chief Executive of Care Not Killing, commented: "In the Netherlands we have already seen a law introduced for terminally ill mentally competent adults, extended to those with chronic conditions, disabilities, mental health problems and even non-mentally competent children.
"This proliferation of so-called assisted dying in the Netherlands was brought sharply into focus by the recent case of Marinou Arends, who euthanised a 74-year old who was under her care. The dementia sufferer was asked three times if she wanted die and that each time she replied no, but Ms Arends decided to press ahead with administering the lethal cocktail of barbiturates as she had concluded her patient was not mentally competent to answer. A review of the case criticised Ms Arends for a lack of care and for putting a sleeping medicine in the woman's coffee without her knowledge. It reported that when she opened her eyes and saw what was happening the patient had pulled away from the lethal infusion, forcing her son-in-law to restrain her by pushing her back down.
"Yet after being cleared of wrong-doing the Supreme Court in the Netherlands, the retired medic refused to show contrition, telling Nieuwsuur television, she was convinced euthanising the 74-year old dementia patient was right and urged other medics to 'do it, just do it'.
"Now in the latest chilling development, a private member's bill from a Dutch legislator seeks to extend the practice to those who believe they have completed their life, anyone over the age of 75. This would further liberalise the most liberal assisted dying laws in the world and risks introducing euthanasia on demand for anybody at any time. No doubt those advocating for this change will try to talk about safeguards, but these are illusionary and temporary."
Dr Macdonald continued: "This is why this proposal is deeply troubling and shows why assisted suicide and euthanasia should never be legalised in the UK. The slippery slope is real and the Dutch euthanasia law has already been massively extended. Most people would be shocked to learn that the fastest growing category of euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands is those who are mentally ill but who have no physiological illness or condition. There was a 600 per cent increase in this category of euthanasia deaths between 2012 and 2017. To now consider extending the euthanasia law to people who are just tired of life, and may well be depressed, is highly irresponsible, immoral and dangerous.
"Current laws in the UK protect vulnerable people from feeling pressured into ending their lives. This is why Members of Parliament have rejected changing the law more than a dozen times since 2004. Most notably the rejection of the Marris Bill, which was comprehensively rejected by the House of Commons in 2015, by 330 to 118.
"This explains why not a single major doctors group supports legalising assisted suicide and euthanasia including the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Association for Palliative Medicine and the British Geriatric Society."
Care Not Killing is a UK-based alliance bringing together over 40 organisations - human rights and disability rights organisations, health care and palliative care groups, faith-based organisations groups - and thousands of concerned individuals.
Read more about Care Not Killing here: www.carenotkilling.org.uk/
If you are affected by any details in this report, and would like to talk to someone, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day see: www.samaritans.org/ or call them free on: 116 123
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