Euthanasia advocates in the Netherlands have proposed the ‘euthanasia flying squad’. This would involve vans travelling to patients’ homes so that patients could die in their own home instead of in hospital. This has not yet become practice or policy but in the Netherlands the practice of euthanasia keeps ever expanding.
The Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) in its latest position paper tells its members that they must take seriously all requests for euthanasia, even if patients are diagnosed with dementia, mental illness, are having suicidal thoughts, or are “merely tired of living.”
Euthanasia deaths rose by 12% in 2010 to 3,136. It should also be noted that this number does not include deaths where the paperwork was not done or deaths by terminal sedation (slow euthanasia by withdrawing nutrition and hydration from sedated patients).
Babies are euthanized as are the elderly. The euthanasia of disabled infants was firmly established with the codification of the Groningen Protocol. Since a baby cannot give consent, the parents are allowed to give consent for euthanasia. Usually this happens in the case of babies born with severe disabilities.
Earlier this month, the KMNG declared that “non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors conflicts with the child’s right to autonomy and physical integrity” and that there is a good case for outlawing circumcision despite its “deep religious, symbolic and cultural feelings”. One KNMG medical ethicist, Gert van Dijk, explains the opposition to circumcision: “The patient has to give consent, but children can’t give consent and we feel it is wrong and a violation of the child’s rights. In our code of medical ethics, it states that you must not do harm to the patient…”
This inconsistency shows what happens when ethics are no longer grounded in the preservation of life. How can it be unethical to circumcise babies but ethical to kill them?