Record Number of Euthanasia Deaths in the Netherlands

May 17, 2021

Almost 7,000 people were euthanized or legally committed suicide in the Netherlands in 2020, a clear increase as compared to the decrease recorded in neighboring Belgium.

The regional euthanasia oversight committees, responsible for keeping track of these deaths and verifying whether the criteria to be eligible for this procedure are met, recorded 6,938 deaths last year, an increase of slightly more than 9% compared to 2019.

The previous peak was 6,585 deaths in 2017. The numbers fell to 6,126 deaths in 2018. It appears that the decrease was linked to legal problems involving doctors performing euthanasia in the Netherlands and Belgium.

A diagnosis of cancer is the most common reason - 5,000 cases - for requesting euthanasia. However, it should be noted that in four of the cases, people chose death because of the suffering caused by the Covid-19 infection.

The president of the oversight committees, Jeroen Recourt, was not surprised by this inflation of assisted suicides.

He remarks, unfortunately correctly, that “more and more generations consider euthanasia as a solution to unbearable suffering.” He added that “the idea that euthanasia is an option in a case of irremediable suffering gives (people) a lot of peace.”

Remember that the Netherlands has allowed euthanasia since 2002: especially when the patient's suffering is unbearable, there is no prospect of improvement, and the patient asks to die.

Sliding further down the slope of the eligibility criteria for death, the country has included “mental and psychosocial conditions” such as the “loss of function, loneliness, and the loss of autonomy” as being among the acceptable criteria for euthanasia.

In October 2020, the government announced it would draft legislation to allow children to legally submit to physician-assisted suicide with parental consent.

The country is also considering extending its criteria for euthanasia to people who have no medical problems but are “tired of living.”

This development, which manifests the inability of a society and the individuals within it, to help people plunged into suffering, is a “full-scale” demonstration of the ineluctable dehumanization that follows the abandonment of the Christian faith. This abandonment was particularly marked in the Netherlands, after the terrible disillusionment that followed the Second Vatican Council and the “Dutch pastoral council.”

The faithful, led by clerics who had already lost their faith, believed they could transform the Church. Their dream was shattered, and they gave up the faith.