There is a silent but dangerous initiative going on in Dutch politics. Two groups – the ‘Out of Free Will’ Foundation and the Dutch Society for the Voluntary Termination of Life – are attempting to propose laws to government that would prepare the way for special end-of-life clinics, where ‘patients’ are provided with euthanasia, as well as the lifting of regulations on euthanasia in general for people over 70. Facilitating in death is the start of a very slippery slope, especially when death becomes a standard resolution for someone reaching a specific age.
Ironically, two unions, the Protestant-Christian Elderly Union and the Catholic Elderly Union, representing the ‘targets’ for these new measures, are now speaking against this. They have written a letter to Secretary of Security and Justice Ivo Opstelten and Health secretary Edith Schipper, warning against this development.
The unions say that the 116,000 signatures that the initiative has gathered are more than a “yes, we are in favour”. It is also a “no against getting old and dependent”. The unions acknowledge that getting older and the approaching end of life triggers emotions of fear and insecurity, and often elderly wonder why they should go on. These emotions and thoughts require that the people in question feel safe in their environment and with their possible caregivers.
The unions conclude their letter with an earnest outcry to the secretaries who are today receiving the ‘Out of Free Will’ Foundation and the Dutch Society for the Voluntary Termination of Life:
It is unacceptable that questions about a full life come from a shortage of dedication and attention from others. Elderly people with a full life must be heard, but thy also deserve someone saying: “Stay with us, you are worth it!”
PCOB and the Union KBO consider the answers from the initiators ‘Out of Free Will’ and NVVR – who plead for an end-of-life clinic – far too blunt. They think that the issue of elderly who consider their life fulfilled is an existential issue. It requires a broad approach and reflection by society.
The original letter can be read in Dutch here.
Surely, such developments as suggested by these anti-life groups are a sign of the moral bankruptcy of this country? This is not a matter of caring for the elderly, it is opting for the easy way out.