By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Professor Theo Boer, who was a member of a regional euthanasia review committee for 9 years, and then changed his mind to now oppose legalizing euthanasia, wrote an opinion article that was published in - The Press Democrat in California.
Boer argues that California Governor Jerry Brown should have talked to Holland before he signed the assisted suicide bill. Boer wrote:
Now that Gov. Jerry Brown has signed the End of Life Option Act, my thoughts go back more than 20 years to the early days of assisted dying in the Netherlands. And I can’t help but feel we — the Dutch — were naïve on this issue.
In 1994, the Dutch were the first in the world to officially legalize assisted dying. It was a modest beginning, just as California’s is now. With no country going before us, assisted dying was formalized in a special clause in the Burial and Cremation Act. If a number of safeguards were kept, doctors acting in accordance with them would not be prosecuted. A separate euthanasia law followed in 2001, not differing much from the 1994 clause and with Belgium following its northern neighbor in 2002.
Five regional review committees, consisting of a lawyer, a physician and an ethicist, keep an eye on the practice and assess whether each case of assisted dying has been in accordance with the law. I served on one of the committees from 2005-2014 and reviewed around 4,000 cases. Given the widespread support for assisted dying in the Netherlands, I was convinced that legalizing assisted dying was the wisest and most respectful route.
Boer explains what happened to the culture in the Netherlands