Medical Ethicist Describes Holland’s Inevitable Progress from Mercy Killing to Murder

Burke Balch, director of the Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics of the National Right to Life Committee, says the Netherlands is no longer sliding down a slippery slope, but rather has fallen off a moral cliff as the medical community in that nation expands its euthanasia practices. He notes that the Dutch government intends to expand its euthanasia guidelines to include so-called “mercy killing” of children with spina bifida or other disabilities, as long as the parents consent.

This development is horrifying, though not surprising, Balch contends, because once a price is placed on human life, the price goes down. “In the Netherlands, although they started with purely voluntary euthanasia for people who were dying,” he says, “they moved very rapidly to individuals who were not dying but were disabled.”

Soon after that, the head of the Powell Center says, doctors in the Netherlands started euthanizing “individuals who were neither dying nor disabled but who were simply old and, in fact, lonely. They moved on to depressed patients, then they moved into cases where the patient hadn't given consent at all.”

For instance, Balch asserts, the pro-euthanasia doctors in the Netherlands have now moved on to euthanizing the elderly in nursing homes and even killing children without parental consent. He says it is obvious that arguments about physician-assisted death being the patient's choice are no longer relevant. Instead, he insists, it has come to be about a determination of who is fit to live.

While euthanasia in the Netherlands may have started out as a way for terminally ill adults to end their lives, Balch feels it was inevitable that it would not end there. “Of course, once you start saying, 'Well, in these hard cases, we're going to say life isn't worthy to be lived,' it just keeps expanding and expanding until, unless you're going to have almost a perfect life or you're not going to be burdensome at all, you are just killed,” he says.

(This article courtesy of Agape Press.)

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