A Dutch citizens action group “Out of Free Will” (“Uit Vrije Wil”) wants to legalize assisted suicide for all people over 70, who have an “explicit, logical and consistent” desire to end their life. They suggest the task should be carried out by a new kind of specially trained and certified professional.
The group has since its start on February 9 collected over 87.000 ( February 19) signatures already to lobby for a change in legislation. A number of prominent Dutch citizens have come out in support of the initiative, including former ministers and artists, legal scholars and physicians . Such, what is formally called “Citizens Initiative”, groups need at least 40.000 to coerce the Parliament to put their issue on the agenda for debate. “Out of Free Will” thus has already succeeded in great measure.
The group hopes to decriminalize assisted suicide for a specified group of people (70+ and with a completed life) in the Netherlands. Under current Dutch law, euthanasia (and assisted suicide) is only legal in cases of “hopeless and unbearable” suffering, which means it is limited to people suffering from serious medical conditions and in considerable pain, and only doctors are allowed to legally assist in both ways to terminate life. The specified group does not comply with these criteria, and thus have not the choice for assistance – even by a doctor! – in their dying, when they choose to.
The initiative was brought forward as part of NVVE’s Week of Completed Life.
NVVE provides an English translation of the Leaflet Completed Life, that can be downloaded here.