The ruling cabinet in Netherlands is contemplating a new provision under the euthanasia law, which would permit assisted death for people who, although not suffering from any terminal medical illness, are otherwise "done with life."
A letter to the Parliament, signed by Health Minister, Edith Schippers, and Justice Minister, Ard van der Steur, stated that all elderly adults who consider their life complete should be granted the option to die. The doctor assisting them under strict and careful criteria would not be prosecuted under these new provisions.
A commission set up earlier this year by Schippers, and led by Dutch sociologist Paul Schnabel, concluded that it would be better to let the existing euthanasia law evolve in the same way it has done since it came into effect in 2002.
Netherlands' NVVE has openly supported this new legal provision, claiming, "People should have a right to self-determination and that their autonomy should not only be respected but find assistance in the hands of medical doctors. Being tired of living because of the loss of loved ones, a lonely life, the incapacity to live a fulfilling life, and other factors should be taken into account."
On the political front, as Life Site News reports, Prime Minister Mark Rutte's liberal VVD party and its teammate in the ruling coalition cabinet, the PvdA labor party, both support the new law. However, the major Christian Democrat opposition party has slammed the proposal, calling the cabinet extremely careless to have gone against the Schabel commission's advice to leave the law as it is.
Meanwhile, the cabinet is quick to assure that there are strict criteria to assess and determine the validity of the 'tired of living' clause. When a person applies to take this way out, alternative solutions would first be offered, a second independent opinion would be required, and the patient would have to repeat the request, with the option of opting out at any time. Euthanasia pills or medication would only be administered near the end, in order to avoid people suffering the associated risks of misuse. A specialised group of doctors could execute this type of euthanasia.