Euthanasia Gains Ground

Voluntary euthanasia causes the deaths of an estimated 5,000 people each year in the Netherlands, the highest figure of any European country, according to the Associated Press.

Dutch law sets a 12-year maximum prison sentence for euthanasia. But in recent years courts have passed only suspended sentences on doctors who follow mercy-killing criteria adopted by the Royal Dutch Medical Association. Those criteria allow mercy killing by a physician at a patient’s “well-considered” request in cases of “unacceptable suffering.”

The government of Premier Ruud Lubbers plans to submit legislation this year that would legalize voluntary euthanasia for terminally ill patients suffering unbearable pain, if physicians and family members agree. An opinion poll commissioned by a Roman Catholic broadcasting station found that 76 percent of the Dutch population favors limited legalization of mercy killing.


Increased Food Supply

The worldwide food supply has increased for the second consecutive year, according to Food Outlook, a publication of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO.)

“The ‘1986 cereal output is a record,” the report states, “[and] cereal stocks will rise sharply in 1986–87 for the third consecutive year.” Contributing to the increased production of cereals is a 2 percent rise in aggregate food output in developing countries, where poverty and hunger are the greatest.

“Nine of the [African] countries which suffered profoundly from the hunger crisis are expected to have a 4 percent increase over last year’s record harvest,” said Robert Parham, director of hunger concerns for the Southern Baptist ...

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