An estimated 0.18 percent of all people over the age of 55 in the Netherlands want to end their lives. That amounts to just over 10 thousand people, according to a committee that researched euthanasia after a full life at the request of the government. More than a third of the older people who don't want to live anymore would like help with ending their lives, the researchers found, NOS reports.
Early next year coalition party D66 will submit a legislative proposal to make assisted suicide possible at the end of a "full" and "completed" life, parliamentarian Pia Dijkstra said in an interview with newspaper AD. The bill is a sensitive topic for Christian parties and coalition partners CDA and ChristenUnie, according to the newspaper.
The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie are now really very almost done with their government agreement, ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers said to NOS on Friday afternoon. But he thinks the four parties will have to meet again on Monday.
There will be no meetings over the weekend. The ChristenUnie respects the Sunday rest. "And on Saturday I have other plans", Segers said to the broadcaster.
The four parties negotiating forming a new Dutch government together reached a compromise on medical ethics issues, AD reports based on a draft text for the government agreement. It says that the government will not make any proposals to expand the euthanasia law to allow assisted suicide for elderly people at the end of a full life, but will make more stem cell research possible, according to the newspaper.
The end of the Dutch government formation talks between the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie is not yet in sight, the party leaders confirmed on Wednesday following the first day of talks after the summer vacation. The D66 and ChristenUnie are still struggling to agree on issues of "principle" like abortion and assisted suicide.
It seems that Christian party SGP is extending its fight against extending the Dutch euthanasia law to the outside world. SGP leader Kees van der Staaij published an opinion piece in American newspaper The Wall Street Journal under the headline: "In the Netherlands, the doctor will kill you".
"Is the day coming that it will be normal for old people to take a pill and simply disappear?" Van der Staaij wrote, according to the Volkskrant. According to him, the Netherlands is on a slippery slope.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte has his doubts about expanding the euthanasia law to allow assisted suicide at the end of a "full life". He does not think that this will be arranged in the new cabinet period, he said in an interview with Nederlands Dagblad on Thursday.
The VVD is very much against setting a minimum age to qualify for euthanasia after a full or completed life. In a parliamentary debate on the government's plan, VVD parliamentarian Arno Rutte called it inappropriate because it would make people who reach that age feel uncomfortable with the idea that their lives are now "complete", the Telegraaf reports.
Former CDA parliamentarian Frans Jozef van der Heijden and his wife ended their lives together on Friday at the ages of 78- and 76-years respectively. They explain their decision to do so in an obituary published in newspaper AD on Tuesday.
Psychiatrists in the Netherlands are concerned that the Dutch government's plan to allow assisted suicide at the end of a "full life" will put them in a difficult position, Damien Denys, president of the Dutch psychiatrists association NVvP said to newspaper Trouw.
The Dutch government wants to adjust the Euthanasia Act so that people who aren't sick, but feel that their life is completed, can end their lives with assisted suicide. This will only be allowed under "strict and rigorous criteria", the government wrote to parliament. The majority of parliamentarians support the plan.