Legalising euthanasia leads to a “slippery slope”, with uncrossable lines repeatedly pushed back, a Dutch euthanasia doctor has admitted.
Writing in the Dutch Medical Association Journal NTGV, Dr Bert Keizer, a geriatrician at a euthanasia clinic, confirmed what pro-life advocates have been warning for decades.
He asserted that “those who embark on euthanasia venture down a slippery slope along which you irrevocably slide down to the random killing of defenceless sick people”.
Dr Keizer compared the expansion of euthanasia to other areas of medical ethics, arguing: “With every limit we set ourselves, there is the possibility to cross it.”
Speaking of the law in the Netherlands, he said: “Abortion was once not allowed, then hardly, then until 12 weeks and now even up to 20 weeks.”
He said that once euthanasia became palatable in certain circumstances, there was nothing to prevent the practice from being extended further.
“Every time a line was drawn, it was also pushed back”, he said, starting with those deemed terminally ill, before moving on to people with chronic illnesses.
Dr Keizer explained how it had then been extended further still – to people with dementia, psychiatric problems, old-age complaints and finally anyone not suffering from an illness but who believed their lives ‘no longer had content’.
He admitted: “It is true that we now provide euthanasia to people to whom we had said, a little indignantly, 20 years ago, ‘Come on, that is really impossible’.”
Dr Keizer also said that he sees “no reason” to believe that increased expansion of laws will not occur in the future.
In July, a Dutch MP proposed a Bill to legalise euthanasia for healthy people over the age of 75.
Criticising the legislation, Harry van der Molen, an MP for Christian Democrat Appeal, said: “In the Netherlands there has been a lot of discussion about whether older people will be treated if they go to hospital with a coronavirus infection, and a lot of older people felt pushed aside just by the idea that they would not be helped.
“This law gives a signal that the easiest solution is that you are given the option to put an end to your life.”