By Dan McAloon
The decision of the Dutch Parliament to introduce the world’s first pro-euthanasia law is a tragedy for the people of the
Netherlands and highlights the failure of that country’s health system to address the needs of the gravely sick and dying, the president of the NSW Right to Life, Mr Greg Smith said.
“The unpublicised aspect
of this story is that in the Netherlands there is so little palliative care that many facing death feel there is no alternative to this immoral and inhuman act,” said Mr Smith.
On a trip to Amsterdam in
1996, Mr Smith said he had been able to find only one hospice containing seven beds in the whole city.
“And there has been little improvement since then. Palliative care remains the merciful way to care for
the dying. But (this law) offers the cheap solution to medical care for the dying – the quick fix, the lethal dose, the legally-sanctioned taking of human life.”
Mr Smith said his sympathies went to those MPs
from Dutch Christian parties who, in trying to block the bill, had argued that the law would increase pressure on doctors and patients to request killing on demand.
“It’s a tragedy for all Christians that
the Netherlands’ reputation for courage and moral fibre should decline so gravely because of this law.”
Replying to media reports that Australian euthanasia campaigner Dr Phillip Nitschke plans to set up a
euthanasia clinic on a Dutch-registered ship anchored in international waters off the Australian coast, Mr Smith said pro-life groups had already received assurances from the Dutch government that they would not
cooperate in the plan.
“Nitschke has been talking up the idea of this boat for a year. He will do and say anything to get publicity,” said Mr Smith, who blamed irresponsible reporting by the media for the