As Western civilization becomes more and more secularized and essentially neo-pagan, the effects are felt in every aspect of life, including the value one places on human life. The scourge of abortion and euthanasia is a terrible testimony to the fact that in far too many instances such life is considered dispensable. Perhaps nowhere else is the horror of legalized euthanasia more evident than in The Netherlands.
Bruce Bawer, who has kept a pulse on developments in Europe, has underlined the slippery slope that Western society is on. Back in 2014, euthanasia (killing with a doctor taking the lead) was only allowed in Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Now it is also allowed in Colombia and Canada. Elsewhere euthanasia is illegal but physician-assisted suicide (where a doctor helps in the killing) is permitted in Switzerland, Germany, South Korea, Japan,and in a number of American states.
“The Netherlands and Belgium don’t just allow euthanasia for adults. In those countries, terminally ill persons as young as twelve years old may also choose to be put to death.” Bawer continues that “there are the cases of people who aren’t physically unwell but are nonetheless considered expendable. In the Netherlands, people whose only illness is psychological are allowed to check out with the help of a doctor.” There was the case of “a 29-year-old Dutch woman named Aurelia Brouwers, who ‘suffered from anxiety,eating disorders, depression, psychosis, and a history of self-harm.’ Brouwers asked to be put to death, and her doctors complied.”
Bawer correctly notes that responsible doctors do not help kill people, but try to help them get better. “But that’s apparently an old-fashioned view in The Netherlands, where abetting the self-slaughter of the mentally unstable is a growth industry: in 2012, there were 12 assisted suicides of mentally ill persons, in 2014, 43; in 2016, 64; in 2017, 83. In addition, 169 people in the Netherlands were euthanized last year on the grounds that they were afflicted with dementia, even though most of them were in the early stages of memory loss. ”Furthermore, “people have been euthanized for being autistic, suicidal victims of sexual abuse, or addicts. Other victims have suffered delusions or heard voices.”
Some, like Dutch Dr. Cassy Fiano-Chesser, are sounding the alarm. She warned that “we’re getting used to euthanasia, that is exactly what should not happen. We’re no longer speaking about the exceptional situations that the law was created for, but a gradual process towards organised death. ”Reacting to these gruesome developments in The Netherlands, and Belgium, “The American Psychiatric Association has condemned the physician-assisted suicide of mentally ill individuals…. In every country that allows physician-assisted suicide, the same kind of chilling mission creep has been observed: laws originally intended solely to permit doctors to dispatch the terminally ill have eventually been invoked to justify the snuffing out of people who are in tip-top physical shape, especially psychiatric patients.”
An infamous Dutch case concerned a seventy-four-year-old woman with dementia who earlier in her life had said she would want assisted suicide when the time is right, but later repeatedly said she wanted to live and did not want to die. Thus, when the family and the doctor thought that she should go, the woman herself “proved uncooperative, struggling so much when the lady doctor tried to administer the lethal injection that the latter had to ask the patient’s family ‘to hold her down’ while she stuck the needle in. ”Practically speaking, in The Netherlands people can be euthanized “at any time,for any reason” and in some cases even against their will.
What is frightening is that the list of afflictions considered severe enough to warrant death is growing longer by the year. The future consequences of Canada’s own new euthanasia law do not look promising.
C van Dam
Sources used: Bruce Bawer, “Organised Death in the Netherlands” (August 14, 2018) on the website of FrontPage Magazine.
The article was published in Clarion (Canadian Reformed Magazine), November 30, 2018, p. 650 and is published here with the permission of Dr van Dam.