The Dutch government has announced it intends to draft a law legalising assisted suicide for people who are not necessarily terminally ill, but who feel they have “completed life.”
Specific details have yet to be worked out, however the Health and Justice Ministers have written a letter to parliament saying they feel people who “have a well-considered opinion that their life is complete must, under strict and careful criteria, be allowed to finish that life in a manner dignified for them.”
The new system would be limited to the elderly, the letter said, but no threshold age was defined.
In 2002, the Netherlands became the first EU country to legalise euthanasia. It is available to patients considered to be in unbearable pain, with no hope of a cure, and the policy has widespread backing.
However, critics say the boundaries of the law have already been stretched with the term “unbearable suffering” extended to apply to some people with mental illnesses and dementia, as well as those with terminal diseases.