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Dutch set to expand euthanasia to include infanticide.

"The Dutch government intends to expand its current euthanasia policy, setting guidelines for when doctors may end the lives of terminally ill newborns with the parents' consent," the Associated Press reported on September 29. Dutch Health Ministry spokeswoman Annette Dijkstra told AP that "a letter outlining the new directives will be submitted to parliament for discussion by mid-October, but the new policy will not require a vote or change of law."

AP noted that "under the protocol, euthanasia would be permissible when a child is terminally ill with no prospect of recovery and suffering great pain, when two sets of doctors agree the situation is hopeless and when parents give their consent." Not only would this policy cheapen the value of innocent, helpless human life, it "is especially significant because it will provide the model for how the country treats other cases in which patients are unable to say whether they want to live or die, such as those involving the mentally retarded or elderly people who have become demented."

The only model this government-sanctioned infanticide provides is one that wins further acceptance for placing the authority over life and death in the hands of the state. The Dutch government "will establish a vetting commission--modeled on com missions currently in place for adult euthanasia--to determine whether conditions have been met in each case and to refer the case to public prosecutors if they do not."

Trusting the state to be responsible for overseeing the euthanasia of infants is a gravely misplaced confidence. As AP points out, the killing of infants is already taking place without any prosecution by the Dutch government. "Government-sponsored studies in the 1990s and repeated in 2001 estimated there are 15 to 20 such infant killings in any year. Just 22 cases were reported to the Justice Ministry between 1997 and 2004--most involving infants with severe damage to the brain and spine from spina bifida--and the ministry decided against prosecuting any of them."

These studies lend credence to the comments made to AP by American ethicist and pediatrician Dr. Chris Feudtner of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: "I categorically do not endorse ending people's lives with the argument that it's alleviating their suffering." He pointed out that "too often the impulse is to resort to extreme measures because we're not being effective enough in the management of pain." Dr. Feudtner said that active euthanasia is "prone to abuse," and that "if you allow it to occur, it will occur in cases where it is not ethical, period."
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Title Annotation:INSIDER REPORT
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:4EUNE
Date:Oct 31, 2005
Words:420
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