Holland: Christian Democrats Revise Euthanasia Law

After Successful Elections, Seeks Consensus With Other Parties

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THE HAGUE, MAY 16, 2002 (ZENIT.org-<a href=”http://www.avvenire.it/”>Avvenire).-The program of the Dutch Christian Democratic party (CDA), appealing for a profound revision of the euthanasia law, won the elections this Wednesday.

The victorious Christian Democrats won 43 seats out of a total of 150 in the Lower Chamber. Last year they lost the parliamentary battle in the heated debate over the legalization of euthanasia.

The CDA does not intend to abrogate the law, since such an initiative does not have real possibilities of success, explained CDA exponent Albert Jan Maat, the Euro-parliamentarian of the Popular European party. Rather, it intends to promote a revision to introduce more rigorous limitations to the practice of euthanasia.

The Christian Democrats hope to exclude euthanasia from two types of patients: children, and those unable to understand or discern. The law currently allows these patients to have a ´good death.´

“The reality is that people are not so keen on euthanasia as on greater possibilities of care and palliative treatment, and this is a request that gained ground when euthanasia was legalized in the country,” Maat said.

Those pursuing a revision of the law are certain they will find consensus outside the party, as well as an adequate number for establishing a majority in Parliament.

Numerous deputies of the VVD, the Liberal party with 23 seats, are dissatisfied with the law at present and might support the Christian Democrats.

From doctors and experts, many escalating examples of perplexity and profound uneasiness are emerging concerning the effects and conditions of the application of the new law.

The Senate approved the euthanasia law on April 10 of last year, making Holland the first country in the world to legalize the “good death.”

Euthanasia was practically decriminalized in 1993, when the Senate approved a law listing 28 conditions for its application; this included the “patient in a terminal state” and affected by “unbearable pain” conditions.

The CDA also hopes to promote greater social assistance to lessen recourse to abortion.

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