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.
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.
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]