Ten years ago on 28 Nov, the Dutch parliament passed a bill permitting enthanasia under specified conditions. Parliament is expected to consider soon a bill giving over-70s the right to die if they consider their lives complete. The expansion of the enthanasia law would be a world first. Switzerland allows assisted suicide in cases where someone is not terminally ill. This bill in the Netherlands, the country that first legalized euthanasia, would push the boundaries farther.
Euthanasia has been available for the terminally ill in Holland since 2002 in cases of 'hopeless and unbearable suffering' certified by two doctors. Supporters of the change say it would offer a dignified way to die for those over 70 who simply have had enough of life, without having to resort to difficult or unreliable solitary suicide methods. The plan is certain to face resistance. Critics say elderly people could be vulnerable to coercion by unscrupulous relatives. Many religious groups oppose any form of suicide. Belgium has followed the Dutch euthanasia model, while Britain and France allow terminally ill people to refuse treatment but stop short of allowing active euthanasia. A private member's bill on 'dying with dignity'; is in second reading in the House of Commons in Canada.
Date written/update: 2010-11-28