In January 2020 a report (by ‘Commission van Wijngaarden’) was presented which concluded that approx. 1.8 % of all persons of 55 years and up, have a wish to end their lives, without being ill. They do not suffer unbearably and hopelessly, but consider their lives to be “complete”. The researchers noted that the death wish as expressed in the study is not an established fact. That desire can diminish or even disappear if someone’s physical or financial situation improves, the living situation improves, or if people feel less lonely or dependent. In many cases it is about people who suffer for some reason and therefore want to finish their life.
This was for the government no reason to extend the current law on euthanasia, but instead try to find a solution and help for the problems this group of elderly faces.
However, the political party D66 (left-liberal) presented on 17 July 2020 a proposal for a bill for euthanasia for patients of 75 years or older, who, although they have no physical or psychological problems, feel their life is ‘complete’.
The bill is now up for review by the Council of State, who will come with an advice within 3 months. It will then be discussed in parliament.
If the law passes, people aged 75 and older with ‘a long-term and unchanging desire to die’ will have the opportunity to have their lives ended. So, it is not about elderly people who are seriously and hopelessly ill, because those can already opt for euthanasia. This new group should then enlist the help of a so-called end-of-life counselor. Together with the requesting person, he will check whether they can ‘make their life worth living again’. If it turns out that life for the older person is complete, and that other help is not desired, then the self-chosen end of life is an option.
But, how can it be that as a society we see suicide as a great evil, but at the same time we would like to promote assisted suicide when you are 75 years or older? How can it be a task of the government to facilitate the killing of healthy people? This is unacceptable for any society, it is an abandonment of our fellow men deciding in a “commission” if the person “has completed” his/her life.
Such a law will put pressure on older people to end their lives
.Dr. Leontine Bakermans, One of Us Netherlands