Slippery meet slope: Woman forcibly euthanised in Holland

Whether or not you support Euthanasia I am sure that we are united in our horror at the thought that a doctor could forcibly euthanise someone without their consent. Unfortunately, that exact situation has already happened in The Netherlands and with Act’s Euthanasia bill currently before Parliament, it is a terrible reminder of the truth of the slippery slope argument.

The long-term consequences of a policy must always be considered because society has a long history of pushing the boundaries. Abortion is a good example. The abortion boundaries that were created at the time that it was legalised have pretty much disappeared and every decade the boundaries get pushed out a little further. Even though the reality is that women in New Zealand now have abortion on demand activists are still pushing to make it overt rather than covert as our system likes to pretend ( at least) that it isn’t abortion on demand.

Euthanasia will not avoid the same slippery slope as abortion. Once you remove the ethical boundaries that prevent a human life being taken by a doctor who is sworn to protect human life the gloves are off just like with abortion. In the Netherlands, they passed laws allowing doctors to lethally-inject the sick and the elderly with the patient’s consent.  Opponents of euthanasia worried that it wouldn’t be long before people would be euthanized without their consent and horrifyingly their fears were well grounded.


A Dutch woman doctor who drugged an elderly woman and then asked her family to hold her down as she fought desperately not to be killed did not break the law, according to medical experts citing the country’s euthanasia legislation.

The shocking case was referred to the so-called Regional Review Committee in the Netherlands which admitted that while the case involved some irregularities that merited a reprimand, the female doctor had effectively acted in good faith.

However they also added that the case should come to court so that judges can confirm that any other doctor who acts in good faith when providing euthanasia to people with dementia cannot be prosecuted.

..The Netherlands introduced the euthanasia law 17 years ago, and since then more than 5,500 people have ended their life, arguing that they are suffering unbearably. One of those who died was a sex abuse victim who suffered severe anorexia, chronic depression and hallucinations, and another was a severe alcoholic.
Every time a doctor performs euthanasia, they have to prepare a report for the coroner who sends the relevant documents to the Regional Review Committee.
In the latest controversial incident the unnamed woman, who was over 80, reportedly suffered from dementia and had earlier expressed a desire for euthanasia when she deemed that ‘the time was right’.
As her situation deteriorated, it became difficult for her husband to care for her, and she was placed in a nursing home.
Medical paperwork showed that she often exhibited signs of fear and anger, and would wander around the building at night. The nursing home senior doctor was of the opinion that she was suffering intolerably, but that she was no longer in a position where she could confirm that the time was now right for the euthanasia to go ahead.
However the doctor was of the opinion that the woman’s circumstances made it clear that the time was now right.
The doctor secretly placed a soporific in her coffee to calm her, and then had started to give her a lethal injection.
Yet while injecting the woman she woke up, and fought the doctor. The paperwork showed that the only way the doctor could complete the injection was by getting family members to help restrain her.
It also revealed that the patient said several times ‘I don’t want to die’ in the days before she was put to death, and that the doctor had not spoken to her about what was planned because she did not want to cause unnecessary extra distress. She also did not tell her about what was in her coffee as it was also likely to cause further disruptions to the planned euthanasia process.
The Review Committee concluded that the doctor ‘has crossed the line’ by giving her the first sleeping medicine, and also should have stopped when the woman resisted.
…It comes at a time when the Netherlands is considering a proposed extension to the law which would give all over-75s the right to assisted suicide…


What happened to that woman is not an extract from a Steven King novel. She was elderly and she had dementia. She was murdered against her will by a doctor. She repeatedly said, ” I do not want to die.” Her family held her down so that the doctor could finish killing her. This wasn’t voluntary. There was no consent and yet it happened.

The Act party have opened a real can of worms with their euthanasia bill. Even if you want to be able to get a doctor to end your life you cannot deny that the thought of that control being taken out of your hands by family and others is terrifying.

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