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Published on Oct 23, 2018
Murder or Mercy (2000): In 2002, the Netherlands became the first country to legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide. This video looks at the debate leading up to the all important parliamentary vote.
The Netherlands now looks set to be the first country in the world where euthanasia, or mercy killing, is legal. MPs have voted to legalise a practice which has traditionally been tolerated. The Upper House now has to ratify the new law which could be in Place by next year. But the debate has polarised Dutch society, where many still oppose euthanasia. “She decided one day that it was enough and, fortunately, the doctor was able to help her”. Around 3500 cases of euthanasia are reported in the Netherlands every year. Academics believe a further thousand are “helped to die” without any official notice. The doctors involved are rarely prosecuted or punished. Even so, without the new bill, these doctors are breaking the law. Polls show that between 50 to 90 per cent of the Dutch support legalisation. The current debate has focused attention on the care of the elderly. Doctors and nurses in this field fear a change in the law could have disastrous consequences. They believe euthanasia could become an easy way out and that relatives may use it for selfish reasons. Whatever the outcome, this debate is certain to continue here and elsewhere.