A record high number of people were euthanized in the Netherlands in 2020, according to horrifying new reports from media outlets in the region. Nearly 7,000 people were killed legally by their doctors, and over 200 of them were mentally disabled.
Dutch News, an English-language media outlet covering the Netherlands, said the RTE Regional Euthanasia Review Committees have finished their annual reviews, analyzing every death by euthanasia. They reported that 6,938 people were killed in 2020, which represents a 9% increase over 2019, fulfilling predictions that euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands would soon be skyrocketing.
Additionally, 3% of the deaths were those of people with dementia or psychiatric disorders, meaning that roughly 208 people were killed due to a mental disability.
Jeroen Recourt, chairman of the RTE, said the numbers are to be expected, and are seemingly not troubling at all. “The figures are part of a larger development,” he told Trouw. “More and more generations see euthanasia as a solution to unbearable suffering. But the idea that euthanasia is an option in case of hopeless suffering, gives a lot of peace.”
He also denied that loneliness due to the COVID-19 lockdowns played much of a role in the increase. “Euthanasia is only granted in the event of hopeless suffering with a medical cause,” he said. “In case of loneliness, however bitter it may be, you can usually still ask the question: is there really no other solution for this than death? Otherwise you are playing with the limits of the law.”
Agnes Wolbert, a pro-euthanasia activist, seemed to celebrate in a statement to DutchNews. “It is a great achievement that people can die in this way at home, and certainly isn’t self-evident when you look abroad,” she said. “This is a great compliment to GPs, who carry out more than 80% of euthanasia cases themselves, and are ever more often supported by experts from the Expertisecentrum Euthanasie.”
In 2019, it was discovered that a quarter of all deaths in the Netherlands are induced, with Steven Pleiter, chairman of the Euthanasia Expertise Center, predicting that euthanasia deaths will double in less than 10 years.
“The post-war generation, the elderly of today, have had a free upbringing and have emphatic ideas about their end of life,” he said. “In the national figures, I expect to double again in the next eight years, given the increasing number of elderly people.”
It has been estimated that one person struggling with mental illness is euthanized each week, and the Netherlands has seen people euthanized for depression, addiction, autism, and sexual abuse. Far from being something to celebrate, these figures should be troubling; that they are not shows how far the Netherlands has slid into the culture of death.
HD Editors Note: Why Is This News Biblically Relevant?
In 2 Timothy Chapter 3, the apostle Paul describes what the character of mankind would be like in the last days. These characteristics would serve as a sign that Jesus’ return is fast approaching. Among this list is a “Loss of Natural Affection.” This prophetically predicted characteristic is on full display as the murder of the weakest among us (through abortion, euthanasia, etc.) is celebrated and fought for by our godless society.
Answers in Genesis in their Article “Is Euthanasia a Biblical Solution to Terminal Illness or Suffering?” wrote:
As people around the world grapple with the issue of whether euthanasia (“mercy killing”) and physician-assisted suicide should be legal, it is the desire to retain control over our lives until the end that motivates many to push for a legal “right to die” on their own terms. When we realize that this is tantamount to asking for murder-on-demand, the sanitized sounding word euthanasia takes on its true colors.
How should we as Christians view this issue? Whatever direction the legal systems of this and other nations take—and whatever unhappy surprises our own lives may hold for us as individuals and for those we love—how can we be certain that our thinking on this issue is correct? It is quite easy to be caught up in the emotional rhetoric surrounding this subject and to be overwhelmed by emotional distress when we hear bad news from our doctors. Without a firm foundation in the Word of God, the decisions we make and the beliefs we hold about these complex issues may be swayed by emotions and governed by the fallible pronouncements of secular ethics committees or even resource utilization guidelines. Therefore, to prepare ourselves for the unexpected, it is important to base our thinking on the Word of God from the very beginning. Let’s get this straight in our minds now.
From the beginning—back in the Garden of Eden—human beings have wanted to take control of their lives. We see this in the historical account of Eve’s yielding to the serpent’s temptation to “be like God” (Genesis 3:5) and in Adam’s decision to follow her in rebellion to God.
The Bible does not condone the taking of one’s own life or euthanasia. It simply does not. God exhorts us to defend the “speechless … who are appointed to die” (Proverbs 31:8–9), not to kill them. God forbids murder (Exodus 20:13). Euthanasia—the destruction of another person’s life even to end their suffering—is a form of murder. It is wrong to do it and wrong to ask someone to do it for you. Having the choice to “shuffle off this mortal coil” through our own hand or the hand of another is not God’s plan for us. We human beings do not have the authority to make that decision for ourselves or our loved ones.
Yet despite all the appealing talk of “dying with dignity”—and who in their right mind would desire to die without dignity—suicide, even when assisted by a physician’s lethal prescription, and euthanasia—which is just a nice word for murder with a presumably merciful motive—are not acceptable options unless we are nothing more than animals.
But we are not just animals! We—every one of us—are all made in his image and therefore all human beings have lives of special value to God, so much so that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, gave his own life for us (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Hebrews 2:9–10). God’s account of creation recorded in the Bible is consistent with what wesee in the physical world and validates his ownership of humanity and his right to set our standards. And apart from a source of truth from someone greater than man, no person’s moral judgments are more valid than another’s. Human beings have many ideas about right and wrong, but as described in the biblical book of Judges, when God’s Word is ignored, everyone does what is right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25), and that is a recipe for disaster as much now as it was during the days described in the book of Judges. Only God who created mankind is justly in a position of moral authority over all mankind.
We must not, therefore, yield the ground to those exhorting us to embrace death prematurely—much less to put subtle pressure on others to do so—but rather focus on how we live in the light of God’s truth until life’s end.
This is a complex issue, and this article is not intended to address every aspect, much less to review the legal ramifications of laws and court decisions that can change in a day. This is, instead, a reminder that we need to base our thinking on the Word of God, which never changes and can be trusted to guide us through life and death.