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Netherlands had record number of euthanasia procedures in 2020

A new report from the Regionale Toetsingscommissie Euthanasie (RTE), who annually analyse all deaths by euthanasia in the Netherlands, found that 6,938 deaths by euthanasia occurred during 2020, the highest yearly figure on record, almost 4.3% of the year’s total deaths.

Euthanasia deaths in 2020 outnumbered the previous peak of 6,585 in 2017. In 2002, the year the Netherlands became the first European country to legalise euthanasia, 1,882 deaths by euthanasia were recorded.

Jeroen Recourt, chair of the RTE, told a Dutch newspaper, “More and more generations see euthanasia as a solution for unbearable suffering… [and] the thought that euthanasia is an option for hopeless suffering brings [many people] peace”.

Expanding assisted suicide legislation

In October 2020, the Dutch government announced its plans to permit expanding current euthanasia laws to allow children aged 1-12 to be euthanised. The process had already been permitted for children aged 12 and above if consent was granted by both the patient and their parents, and was possible for infants during their first year of life.

Catherine Robinson, spokesperson for Right To Life UK said: “It is tragic but unsurprising that the Netherlands is witnessing not just a spike in deaths by doctor-assisted suicide, but that its laws are expanding to include children and those tragically suffering from suicidal thoughts”. 

“As is demonstrated by nearly every jurisdiction where various forms of assisted suicide have been permitted, once we accept that wanting to die merits legal and moral permission to be assisted in doing so, it usually naturally follows that more people will be pushed into doing so and that the categories will eventually expand far beyond the voluntary euthanasia of those with a terminal illness”.

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.