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Euthanasia boundaries are an illusion - the Dutch example

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The Netherlands legalised euthanasia and assisted suicide in 2002. Cancer was the most common underlying condition for those approved for a euthanasia death in the first year, with a handful of patients with other conditions, such as lung disease, nervous system disorders, and cardiovascular disease, also asking a doctor to end their life.

Although the Dutch euthanasia law has not changed, there has been an exponential increase in the number of people who have accessed euthanasia for mental illness, psychological suffering and ‘multiple pathologies’ often associated with old age. From 2010, even those with dementia and a diminished or non-existent capacity to consent to die at the time of death were being euthanised. And all this expansion occurred without the Dutch government making any amendments to their euthanasia law.

Source: Regionale Toetsingscommissies Euthanasie, Jaarverslag 2010 (2011); Regionale Toetsingscommissies Euthanasie, Jaarverslag 2012 (2013); Regionale Toetsingscommissies Euthanasie, Jaarverslag 2015 (2016); Regionale Toetsingscommissies Euthanasie, Jaarverslag 2017 (2018).

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