Tuesday, January 15, 2013

NBC news reports on euthanasia in The Netherlands, Belgium

It’s not widely discussed, but NBC news this morning has as many as three stories on euthanasia in several countries and states. It is legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and in the US in Montana, Washington and Oregon.  But remember, Jack Kevorkian served eight years in prison for his activities in Michigan in the 1990s.  

The main NBC story (about Dutch mobile units) is here.    There are two other stories, about a pair of blind-deaf brothers in Belgium, and a story about Rick Santorum’s critical comments.  

Note the reader's comments about the matter, and the suppression of a comment about health care and custodial care costs. 

The Patients Rights Council has a page on the subject here

Life spans are increasing partly because modern medicine can prolong life, even with disability, longer than it could a few decades ago.  So the obligation to support life with extreme disability has become a huge moral issue that affects everyone, not just people who marry and have children.  Of course, this ties into the “pro life” debate in this country.

The Netherlands and a few other countries have taken a different approach.  Social conservatives fear a slippery slope, that in the worst case scenarios could bring back practices like those in Nazi Germany or ancient Sparta. 

Privately, a lot of people say that they wish Netherlands-style practices were legal here, however. The recent French film "Amour"  (Movies blog, Jan. 12) makes a case.   

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