Figures released by the Regional Euthanasia Review Boards (RTE) show that euthanasia deaths have reached an all-time high in the Netherlands.
Deaths recorded by euthanasia increased 9% nationwide in 2020 compared to the previous year.
The number of reported cases has increased significantly since the liberalization of Dutch law – from 1882 in 2002 to 6,938 in 2020.
According to the president of RTE, Jeroen Recourt, “the figures are part of a larger development”.
He added: “More and more generations are seeing euthanasia as a solution to unbearable suffering.”
Recourt also told the Dutch newspaper Trouw that the vast majority of deaths from euthanasia were in older people who were not seriously ill, but diagnosed with normal conditions associated with old age.
Last year the Dutch government announced controversial plans to decriminalize euthanasia for children under the age of twelve.
Currently, activists are seeking to extend the right to die by euthanasia to those over 75 who are not sick but simply “tired of life”.
One of the leading euthanasia physicians, Dr Bert Keizer, said: “At any limit that we set for ourselves, it is possible to cross it.”
Dr Keizer also said he saw “no reason” to believe that further expansion of the laws would not happen in the future.
In March, leaders of the Westminster all-party parliamentary humanist group wrote to the Secretary of State for Justice and urged him to undertake a review of the assisted suicide law.
Currently in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, it is a crime to encourage or assist the suicide – or attempted suicide – of another person, an offense punishable by jail time. maximum of 14 years.
A bill to legalize assisted suicide was strongly rejected in the House of Commons in 2015 by 330 votes to 118. The assisted suicide bill (Scotland) was also rejected by 82 votes to 36 in the same year. .
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