The Netherlands has joined Belgium and Spain in adopting “opt-out” organ donation legislation.
Earlier this week the Dutch parliament narrowly passed a bill that requires every person over the age of 18 to notify government officials if they do not want to be an organ donor.
All adults in the country not yet registered as donors will receive a letter asking if they want to donate their organs after death. Those who do not respond to the first letter, or to a second letter six weeks later, will be considered organ donors, although they can amend their status at any time.
The law is intended to reduce pressure on next-of-kin, who are often required to make decisions about organ donation on behalf of the deceased.
Yet critics of the bill complained that it puts too much authority in the hands of the government over what happens to a citizen after their death.
Bioethicist Wesley J Smith suggested that in some cases euthanasia “without request or consent” could be combined with presumed consent for organ donation: “a patient could very conceivably be both killed and harvested without having requested it”.
The law is expected to be implemented in 2020.
Saturday, February 17, 2018
Last year the London Telegraph ran a travel article about Belgium, “10 reasons why Belgium is not as boring as you think”. A bit patronising, right?
Personally, I’d never call a country which has dared to legalise euthanasia boring. Anything but. This is a defiant poke in the eye to hundreds of years of Western civilisation. Whether you agree with Belgium’s regime of legalised euthanasia or not, it is a wildly exciting experiment in disrupting established social norms.
The latest news is that a whistleblower has accused the country’s euthanasia commission of breaking the law, muzzling dissent, and packing the commission with euthanasia practitioners. In other countries this would be called corruption. The whistleblower's letter to the Belgian Parliament is a searing indictment of a respected institution. You would think that the Belgian media would be baying for blood.
Nope. It was an American news agency, Associated Press, which broke the story. As far as I can see, it has been reported around the world, but not in Belgium. It’s a funny kind of journalism which ignores such a big story. Perhaps the media there believes that Belgium really is as boring as you think. Or perhaps they are in the pocket of the euthanasia lobby.
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