Euthanasia, like many policies, can sound pretty defensible when worded a certain way. Often, it’s framed as a way for terminally ill people to voluntarily end their suffering.
Unfortunately, also like many policies, it doesn’t quite turn out that way in practice.
According to the BBC, a Dutch doctor was just cleared by the court system after she “euthanized” an elderly dementia patient without her consent. That is, she murdered a woman and got away with it because “all requirements of the euthanasia legislation” had been met.
That snapshot version is harrowing enough, but the details are even worse.
The woman, who was 74 years old at the time of her death in 2016, had previously drafted a written statement saying that she wanted to be euthanized eventually, but with one caveat.
She wanted to be able to decide when, choosing to wait until “the time is right.”
The doctor had other plans.
She set a date on her own accord, and got two other physicians to sign off on it. She did not consult the patient at all, instead choosing to cite her 4-year-old statement that never gave permission to euthanize in the first place.
The procedure itself also took time and effort complete.
According to The Guardian, the doctor started by slipping a sedative into the patient’s coffee.
But the patient woke up and got out of bed, which set in motion arguably the worst part of the story.
The woman’s husband and daughter helped hold her down so that the doctor could finish the process and give her the drug which ultimately killed her.
It doesn’t take a seasoned detective to figure out a death that required secrecy, date-rape drugs and physical restraint probably isn’t voluntary.
It’s murder, plain and simple, and it’s an absolute travesty that Dutch law allows this to happen.
If, in fact, the judge correctly interpreted euthanasia law in this case, then its one of the worst pieces of legislation on the books in the world today, and quite possibly the very worst in the Western world.
From a purely legal standpoint, people pretty much have the right to take their own lives. It’s literally impossible to prosecute someone who has done so.
That being said, that’s not what euthanasia is. Euthanasia requires someone else to pull the trigger, and to take an active step in ending someone’s life.
Combined with the obviously fuzzy (and in this case, even not-so-fuzzy) definition of “consent,” this turns into an absolute disaster for human life.
When euthanasia laws are proposed, many people typically get the picture of a weary patient tired of fighting and ready to go meet their Savior, not one of a woman fighting for her life while her own family pins her to a bed.
Any law that would allow this to happen should never see the light of day.
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