Suicide pill introduced in the Netherlands
“The slippery slope is behind us”
In the Netherlands more and more people die from euthanasia, which is accounting for 4.5 percent of all deaths. According to researchers, requests from people who aren’t terminally ill are increasing. “Euthanasia is now considered as a right”, says Kees van Helden of pro-life organization Schreeuw om Leven (Cry for Life).
The debate about euthanasia in the Netherlands got heated once again at the beginning of this month. The foundation ‘Laatste Wil’, that aims to promote a self-chosen and humane death, spurred the debate by announcing to have found the perfect suicide pill. For most people who wish to determine their own death, it is a dream come true. However, for a lot of people it is a nightmare. “Once we opened the door to euthanasia, we knew that we were on a slippery slope”, says Van Helden. “At this moment the slippery slope is way behind us. In fact, we crashed when we fell off!” This so called suicide pill is actually a powder that dissolves in water. If someone drank it, it would lead to a painless death within one hour. At least, that is what the organization behind this ‘magic death powder’ wants the public to believe. According to a spokesman, it takes 20
minutes before the person goes into a coma. The only side effect would be a heavy but suppressive headache, according to ‘Laatste Wil’.
However, experts in the field of pharmacology, toxicology and biotechnology argue that such a powder doesn’t exist. Even experts who are pro-euthanasia, such as the notorious physician
Boudewijn Chabot, warn that this powder might lead to horrible and in fact painful last moments, with epileptic seizures, nausea, headaches, dizziness and muscle weakness.
Euthanasia as a right
The powder is legal and it is used in the industry. For that reason, everyone can buy it. ‘Laatste Wil’ states it will only provide its members with the name of the powder, after they have had a membership for half a year. Since the announcement, the number of members has increased from 3,500 to 11,000. The foundation can confirm the self-killing powder works because according to them, it has already been used. “To kill apparently”, says Van Helden. He is worried about the direction the Netherlands is heading. First of all, this powder might fall into the wrong hands: it might be used for murder. Then again, you might say that it already has fallen into the wrong hands, obviously.”
He emphasizes: “As Van der Staaij (Dutch MP) stated in the Wall Street Journal: Euthanasia has become a right. Euthanasia is no longer a ‘way out’ when a patient suffers unbearably and is terminally ill. Euthanasia has become a way out of life when life gets hard. People will request from their doctors to kill them, whereas treatment and attention might actually be all they need. What kind of society do we live in, once we start killing the weak on demand?” Sources: NOS, Political reactions and questions Dutch MP Kees van der Staaij (SGP) asked about the death powder.