Theo Boer changed his mind about euthanasia and has gone public with his admission. “We were wrong—terribly wrong,” he wrote in an article for Daily Mail that was recently posted on Careful!, a Mercatornet blog about end of life issues. Boer, along with most of his colleagues, believed that safeguards in the 2001 Netherlands law permitting euthanasia and physician assisted suicide were adequate to prevent the “slippery slope” of increased usage. As Boer said—they were wrong—terribly wrong! Since 2008 annual deaths from PAS have increased 15% each year escalating from 1882 in 2002 to 4,188 in 2012. Boer estimates there will be more than 6,000 this year or next.
Perhaps more chilling is the establishment in The Netherlands of “End of Life” Clinics whose sole purpose for existence is to aid patients in suicide. Serviced by “traveling euthanizing doctors.” These doctors make no attempt to treat disease or illness. On average, Boer says they see each patient only three times and have only two options: assisted suicide or send the patient away. “They will not rest until a lethal pill is made available to anyone over 70 years who wishes to die. Some slopes truly are slippery,” laments Boer.
Further evidence that Netherlands is sliding down a slippery slope under legalized is the rise in reports of euthanasia and PAS among those whose suffering is not caused by terminal illness but by the diagnosis of psychiatric illness or dementia or merely because they are aged, lonely or bereaved.