By Wesley J. Smith
An exposé on Dutch euthanasia published in The Guardian discloses that around twenty-five percent of Dutch deaths are induced/caused by doctors.
These are not all lethal-injection euthanasia deaths. As I have written here before, many more people are killed in the Netherlands by “terminal sedation”–a slow motion euthanasia wherein patients not in the active stage of dying are put into artificial comas and denied all sustenance until they dehydrate to death–than die by lethal jabs. (Terminal sedation should never be confused with the proper practice of “palliative sedation,” which eases a dying patient’s symptoms while not intentionally causing death.)
Back in 2012, I estimated that combined euthanasia, assisted suicide, and terminal sedation killings totaled about of all Dutch deaths. In the years since, these induced-death practices have apparently grown significantly, a phenomenon that did not escape the attention of The Guardian. From “Death on Demand: Has Euthanasia Gone Too Far?” (my emphasis):
As people got used to the new law, the number of Dutch people being euthanised began to rise sharply, from under 2,000 in 2007 to almost 6,600 in 2017. (Around the same number are estimated to have had their euthanasia request turned down for not conforming with the legal requirements.)
Also in 2017, some 1,900 Dutch people killed themselves, while the number of people who died under palliative sedation – in theory, succumbing to their illness while cocooned from physical discomfort, but in practice often dying of dehydration while unconscious [that is, terminal sedation] – hit an astonishing 32,000. Altogether, well over a quarter of all deaths in 2017 in the Netherlands were induced.
Since euthanasia was first decriminalized in the Netherlands, the country’s doctors have traveled a very dark road. Induced deaths have expanded from the terminally ill who ask for it, to the chronically ill who ask for it, to people with disabilities and the elderly who ask for it, to people with dementia, psychiatric patients with mental illness (83 in 2017), and the infanticides of babies born with serious or terminal illnesses or disabilities, who don’t have the capacity to ask for it.
Dutch law permits organ harvesting to be conjoined with euthanasia. There have been joint geriatric killings of couples fearing widowhood. In 2015, Dutch statistics revealed that 431 patients were killed by doctors who never asked for euthanasia–known in the lexicon as “termination without request or consent”–with next to nothing done about it even though such unasked-for lethal acts are technically murder under the law.
Does this mean the Dutch are horrible, ghoulish people? Absolutely not. But they are logical. Once the population widely accepted the premise that killing is an acceptable answer to suffering, the country took that belief precisely where it leads.
Such horrors will happen here too if we allow ourselves to be similarly seduced by euthanasia consciousness. Those with eyes to see, let them see.
Editor’s note. Wesley’s great columns appear at National Review Online and are reposted with the author’s permission.