The annual meeting of the Dutch Voluntary Euthanasia Foundation (NVVE) on March 29, 2003, voted on several important changes to its constitution, a new name, and a fresh name for the Drion Pill. These changes were felt necessary because legalization and social acceptance have been achieved.
Main points in this change were:
A new name: Dutch Association for a Voluntary End of Life. This name was —in the opinion of the board— necessary to make clear to members and others, that the objectives of the society are going to be broader than euthanasia and assisted suicide alone. Important is keeping the term “Voluntary” in the name: it emphasizes that in all cases the wish of the person involved is essential and instrumental (without a request no help in whatever way!!).
- to promote as broadly as possible application and social acceptance of the existing legal possibilities of a voluntary end of life;
- to promote social acceptance and the juridical procedure towards a voluntary end of life in situations in which the existing legal possibilities are not applicable;
- the pursuit of recognition of the choice for a voluntary end of life and the assistance in this as a human right.
Next to the development of the Drion Pill (new name: Lastwillpill) the further promotion of possibilities towards euthanasia for special groups (psychiatric patients, demented persons and patients with chronic diseases (MND, MS etc.)) stays as important activity in our new objectives.
The board proposals were accepted; only when the constitution has been formally passed, will the new name and constitution be effective (possibly June 2003).
Lastly: Because the name “Drion Pill” is no longer a right cover for what the NVVE means by this, the board decided to start using a different name for it, which expresses more clearly the idea behind it and does not have the restrictions implicated in the Drion Pill (namely old age alone). That new name will be “Lastwillpill”.
It must be emphasized again that this development has to be completely and clearly separated from the euthanasia discussions. Euthanasia is meant to be a possible solution of a medical problem, while Lastwillpill belongs to the social domain as a possible solution of a social problem (both on the demand of the person involved only!).
Rob Jonquiere at his desk in Amsterdam.