Skip to main content

Table 5 Examples of arguments against euthanasia in Dutch newspaper articles

From: News media coverage of euthanasia: a content analysis of Dutch national newspapers

Theme Example
Suffering can/should be alleviated by better care Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an incurable disease where adults increasingly have difficulties using their muscles. One in five ALS patients die by euthanasia in the Netherlands, while the overall euthanasia rate is only 1.8. […] Foreign doctors have found this rate unacceptably high and have questioned the quality of care for ALS patients in the Netherlands. Theay have also wondered whether Dutch doctors perhaps undertreat depression and related death wishes in ALS patients. (Nederlands Dagblad, 11-9-2009)
The achievements of medicine are in many ways a blessing. The burden of pain, dyspnea and dehydration on the deathbed can be alleviated with palliative care and palliative sedation. (Trouw, 20-2-2010)
Suffering can be meaningful; A natural death is better than a non-natural death Each of us has probably once experienced someone in the immediate environment who was dependent on us. This is not a purely negative experience. The physical proximity allows for intimacy and the relationship thereby becomes deeper. Let us cherish the memory of such experiences. It is possible that this reduces the need to control dying. It can help us in taking a relaxed view at the end of life. Just like chips and a plate of hot food, a death that is normal probably tastes best. (Trouw, 20-2-2010)
Society should protect the vulnerable; Human life should be preserved [The Human Rights Commission of the United Nations] is most concerned, however, about Dutch euthanasia policy. Do vulnerable groups such as older people and the disabled not deserve to be better protected? […] The UN Committee defends the widely shared view that life is too precious to be terminated. Moreover, they correctly point to the fact that social perceptions of old age and frailty can also be influential. Where dependence is linked to dehumanization and indignity, the 'art of dying well' (the true meaning of euthanasia) disappears. (Nederlands Dagblad, 18-7-2009)
Performance of euthanasia is disturbing for the physician Doctors are there to deal with medical affairs. They are there to keep people alive and to help them die in case of severe illness. But performing euthanasia is for almost every doctor highly personally invasive and stressful. (Volkskrant 20-3-2010)
Performance of euthanasia is disturbing for the physician; It is outside the scope of normal medical practice; Abrupt death (euthanasia) is an awful way of dying for relatives The book (JR: “Verlossers Naast God” / Saviours besides God, by Anne Mei The) pains us, because it painfully shows what an enormous impact euthanasia can have on a doctor. 'My kids run to me and embrace me. I am fighting back my tears” is the last sentence of a doctor who comes home after he has “helped” a man. Doctors do not want to disappoint patients who trust them. But a request for euthanasia is not normal, just as the act itself is not. Even relatives are often shocked at their own reactions. Discontent among the "silent majority" of doctors began in 2001. The compassionate help provided in the past was exchanged for an abrupt action that goes against everything a doctor normally represents. (Nederlands Dagblad 2-12-2009)