The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

1 December 2004

A step beyond Ludovico's Technique

In the Netherlands, physician-assisted suicide is legal: a person of sound mind in extreme pain may request a lethal dose of sedatives.

Now the Groningen University Hospital has proposed guidelines for ending the lives of newborns, persons in irreversible coma, and other individuals who cannot make the decision for themselves. Scary enough — and that's before the revelation that they've already begun implementing the procedure on their own.

The Groningen Protocol, estimates the hospital, might apply to as many as ten persons per year; in 2003, Groningen reported the euthanizing of four infants.

Francis W. Porretto is appalled:

The idea of legalizing the medical execution — there's no point in mincing words — of "people with no free will," at the discretion of their attending physicians and a supposedly independent panel of other physicians, should be shot down at once.

Are there no exceptions?

It would be lunacy — malevolent lunacy — to premise a law allowing doctors to make such decisions on a handful of hard cases. Far better that the practice remain formally illegal under all circumstances, and trust juries to recognize and allow the exceptions as they arise.

I can bring myself to support doctor-assisted suicide, generally: it is, after all, a choice made by the patient. But where the patient can't make that choice? This is way too Clockwork Orange for me.

Speaking of "choice," the very word lately has been imbued with political implications. What would a "pro-choice" organization think about the Groningen Protocol? Dawn Eden suspects they'd like it just fine.

Posted at 9:00 AM to Life and/or Death

TrackBack: 7:16 AM, 3 December 2004
» When will it happen here? from Eric Wood
How long until the enlightenment of the progressive Netherlands reaches our shores here in the US?...[read more]

Greetings from the blogger who used to call himself "jesus gil" of "ibidem"

The most amazing thing about all this is that it is "old news" and that the press hasnīt cared a bit about this. I suspect this is somehow related to the euthanasia friendly Spanish film "The Sea Within" which is up for an Oscar (even though itīs really a guy committing suicide).

Back to the Netherlands. The early 1990s Remmelink report already noted babies were being euthanised, and there were plenty of other cases reported in a 1994 report as well.

Iīve posted in the past about this, but grouped quite a few of the items under one heading in case you are interested: Euthanasia In The Netherlands...the dirty secret


Posted by: Robert Duncan at 2:47 AM on 3 December 2004

Now that's a comfort. And the press probably doesn't care, because (1) it's a European phenomenon and everyone knows Europe is far more sophisticated than us rubes in the States and (2) we must protect the prerogatives of physicians at any cost, lest they be forced into HMOs or, worse, be restricted from vacuuming out uteruses.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:02 AM on 3 December 2004