April 24, 2024

New stats on Dutch euthanasia

The government's statistics for euthanasia in the Netherlands were released recently. They show that the number of people who took advantage of legal assisted suicide and euthanasia declined slightly — about 7% — for the first time since 2006.

To be completely candid, I regard a decline in the number of euthanasia cases as good news. That is, if it is true. It is possible that more cases were simply not reported to the authorities. Fewer euthanasia cases means fewer people in desperate pain and fewer people who feel that their lives are meaningless.

However, this is not the way that euthanasia supporters see it. For them it was bad news because fewer people had taken advantage of the blessing of a peaceful death. From their point of view, good news is an ever-increasing, upward-sloping line on a graph. 

Euthanasia already accounts for at least 4% of all deaths in the Netherlands. What proportion are its supporters aiming at? 5%? 10%? 40%? I have never read any projections of this figure. It would be interesting to know what the future holds for the Dutch. 

Michael Cook
For the first time in years, a drop!