A Cautionary Tale from the Netherlands

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One of the common examples used to describe dangerous unintended consequences of legalizing physician assisted suicide is that of the Netherlands.

We now have another troubling point to consider in that example.

According to the English-language Netherlands news outlet NL Times, a group of doctors is expressing concern that they are heading toward mandatory compliance when a patient requests assisted suicide.

Again, to be clear: the Netherlands is at risk of doctors being obligated to cooperate in assisting a patient’s death.  This is deeply concerning, and the report relays the concerns expressed in major Dutch news outlet, NRC Handelsblad.

From the report, the Chairman of the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG), Rutger Jan van der Gaag, stated that physician assisted suicide’s legality must never lead to “an obligation for the doctor to cooperate.”  Van der Gaag continued, stating that assisted suicide must never be something a patient can “force” on a doctor.

This is obviously a concern that proponents of assisted suicide, here in Maryland or elsewhere, will casually brush off as paranoia.  But how can they ignore the reality that this isn’t coming from doomsayers with no frame of reference?  How long can the concerns of medical professionals, experiencing this reality first hand, be cast aside?

We must continue to point to these concerns and others, asking legislators to truly consider the real risks we face with this proposal.

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