Video: Dutch set to debate weakening euthanasia laws

The Dutch Parliament is set to debate allowing elderly people who “consider their lives complete” to have non-doctors assist them in their suicide.

Watch a CBN report

Holland has already legalised euthanasia for terminally ill people, and last year there were around 2,500 cases of people dying under the law.

But this new move comes as a result of pro-euthanasia group Of Free Will attracting over 100,000 signatures to proposals which include allowing non-doctors to administer lethal drugs.

Under Dutch rules petitions with 40,000 or more signatories must be debated in the Parliament.


The Royal Dutch Medical Association, which supported the original legalisation, says it opposes this new plan in part because it believes it would undermine doctors’ position in the current euthanasia policy.

And religious groups have also expressed concern at the development.

At present in Holland two doctors must agree that a patient is suffering unbearably from illness with no chance of recovery, and no longer wants to live, before he or she can be given a lethal dose of sedatives.

Any changes to the Dutch euthanasia law are unlikely to come into force in the country for some time due to lengthy committee and consensus stages.

Marie-Jose Grotenhuis from the campaign group Of Free Will said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of reactions, especially because people took it so seriously and reactions were mostly positive”.

The architect of the Dutch euthanasia legislation spoke out in December saying that she may have made a mistake in pushing the law through.


In Britain there have been a number of cases of people who were glad they didn’t end it all.

Just last month the Bishop of Durham said his mother had “just wanted to go to sleep and not wake up”, but that he “shuddered at the thought of speeding her on her way”.

She eventually made a full recovery and celebrated her 63rd wedding anniversary and greeted her sixth great-grandchild.

Earlier in February a disabled woman who said she had had a “settled wish” to die told of how her “life is worth living” despite her pain.

Alison Davis said she understands the difficult issues faced by those with incurable illnesses but the law on assisting suicide must still remain firm.

She explained, in a letter to a national newspaper, that she had attempted to commit suicide on a number of occasions.

When doctors treated her against her will and saved her life she said she was “angry”. But now she is grateful.