Royal Dutch Medical Association: Doctors should be able to kill those who aren't ill
A Zogby poll commissioned by two pro-euthanasia groups in Vermont found that 80 percent of that state's residents would support a bill allowing terminally ill patients to receive medication from their doctors to hasten their deaths. Self-described "very conservative" respondents and those who attend church once a week or more were the only groups with a majority opposing such legislation, the Associated Press reports.
The Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare, which opposes euthanasia, notes that the poll's wording carefully avoids the phrase "physician-assisted suicide."
About 3,400 miles from Vermont, physician-assisted suicide is again in the news in the Netherlands, the world's euthanasia trailblazer. Physician-assisted suicide has been legal there since 2001, with thousands of deaths now deliberately caused by doctors. (One report says about half of the procedures go unreported.) In November, a Dutch hospital revealed that it had been euthanasing infants, though Dutch law says patients must repeatedly ask to be killed, and must file a written declaration before a doctor is allowed to kill the patient.
Now the Dutch medical community wants more freedom to kill. "Doctors can help patients who ask for help to die even though they may not be ill but 'suffering through living,' concludes a three year inquiry commissioned by the Royal Dutch Medical Association," the British Medical Journal reports today. (The association's report is here, but in Dutch.)
The report comes a year after physician Philip Sutorius had his criminal conviction appeal rejected by the Dutch Supreme Court. In 1998 Sutorius performed an "assisted suicide" on politician ...