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Double euthanasia as former Dutch PM and his wife end their lives together

The former Dutch Prime Minister and his wife had their lives ended in a double euthanasia last week according to media reports.

Dries van Agt, Prime Minister in the Netherlands between 1977 and 1982 and the first leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal party, and his wife Eugenie, were both euthanised on Monday 5 February, both aged 93.

Double euthanasia remains relatively rare in the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002. The first cases were reported by the Regional Euthanasia Review Commitees (RTE), which revealed in its 2020 annual report that there were 13 instances of double euthanasia where both members of the couple were euthanised simultaneously (26 people in total). The number increased to 16 couples (32 people) in 2021 and 29 couples (58 people) in 2022.

There were 8,720 cases of euthanasia (and assisted suicide) in the Netherlands in 2022, accounting for 5.1% of all deaths in the Netherlands in that year. Euthanasia deaths in 2022 represent a 13.7% increase on 2021. 

Under Dutch law, there is no requirement that a person be terminally ill in order to end their life by euthanasia but they must be thought to be suffering unbearably.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said “This is a terribly sad case in which an elderly couple ended their own lives with the state’s support. We do not celebrate suicide in ordinary circumstances and we should not celebrate it in this instance. Whatever stage of life we’re living through, our lives have dignity and it is not up to the state to decide that some lives are worth living and some are not”.

Dear reader,

You may be surprised to learn that our 24-week abortion time limit is out of line with the majority of European Union countries, where the most common time limit for abortion on demand or on broad social grounds is 12 weeks gestation.

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine enables doctors to intervene to save premature babies from 22 weeks. The latest research indicates that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive outside the womb, and this number increases with proactive perinatal care.

This leaves a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive at 23 weeks whilst, in another room of that same hospital, a doctor could perform an abortion that would end the life of a baby at the same age.

The majority of the British population support reducing the time limit. Polling has shown that 70% of British women favour a reduction in the time limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks or below.

Please click the button below to sign the petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to do everything in his power to reduce the abortion time limit.