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by Peter Moskos

February 27, 2012

Right-Wing Lies (VI) - Dutch Euthanasia

"The problem is if they just start lying." That's how Erik Mouthaan (Holland's RTL News) puts it. Or, put less eloquently, this is what I'd say to Rick Santorum, who recently lied about the Netherlands, which seems to be a popular pastime (see, for instance) among US prohibitionists and conservatives. Said Santorum:
People wear differ bracelets if you are elderly. And the bracelet is “do not euthanize me.” Because they have voluntary euthanize in the Netherlands. But half the people who are euthanized every year--and it’s 10% of all deaths--and half those people are euthanized involuntarily at hospitals because they are older or sick. And so elderly people in the Netherlands don’t go to the hospital. They go to another country because there are afraid because of budget purposes, that they will not come out of that hospital.
Mr. Santorum, have you no shame?

What is the Dutch policy on euthanasia? Here's a good, and factually correct, summary. Basically euthanasia has been decriminalized--meaning it's technically illegal but the government will not prosecute--if certain conditions are met. These condition include your ability to make such a choice. You also have to be in unbearable pain without prospect of improvement. A doctor has to sign off on these condition (or risk criminal liability). And so does a second doctor.

And Dutch people are not afraid to go to the hospital (nor do they have to worry about the bill, if they do).

In 2009 there were 2,636 people (just under 2% of all deaths) in the Netherlands who wanted to (and did) end their lives. 80% of these patients died at home.

There is nobody in the Netherlands involuntarily euthanized in the Netherlands. They have a word for that in Dutch, "moord". It means murder. Even in Holland, homicide is still a crime.

Update: I'd love it for a Santorum fan to comment. Could you please tell me which is the following is most true? Seriously.

1) You don't believe me. That is to say, Santorum was telling the truth. Dutch hospitals really do kill sick old people who have to wear bracelets if they want to stay alive.

2) You think Santorum simply made an honest mistake. He thought it was true it was true at the time. The fact the he is so incredibly ignorant than he could believe such a thing a true? No big deal.

3) You believe Santorum knew he was lying. But again, no big deal. They're all lying bastards, but at least Santorum is your lying bastard.

Cause I can't figure out it. But that's probably because I went to college (but that's a whole 'nuther issue).

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