Public support for legalizing assisted suicide hovers around 70%, but a 2013 Environics poll found that only 29% “strongly” support the practice. In comparison, only 26% of doctors agree with doctor-assisted suicide. Is it possible that doctors are more familiar with the vagaries of death than the general population? Or possibly that most doctors entered the profession, in order to help, not kill, people?
Seeing the slippery slope isn’t terribly hard either. The situation on the ground in Belgium (which legalized euthanasia is 2002) and the Netherlands (which has a long history of access to euthanasia, even before legalization in 2001) points to a different reality than the one Dr. Belchetz describes.
In Belgium, like the Netherlands, euthanasia started with terminally ill people, then it was allowed for the mentally ill. Now, even though the law itself hasn’t changed, anyone with unbearable physical or psychological suffering can be killed this way.
Twin deaf brothers who were going blind found a doctor who would kill them. A depressed mother was killed (her son found out when asked to collect her things from the morgue).
Earlier this year, the Belgian Parliament voted to make euthanasia legal for children, with parental consent.
A public campaign in the Netherlands argued that anyone over 70 and tired of life should be able to get euthanasia. It garnered enough support to force the Dutch Parliament to consider the proposal. In 2013, Dutch doctors killed a 70-year-old widow who was going blind. She wasn’t dying, but she was a stickler for cleanliness and couldn’t bear not being able to see the dirt on her clothes.
The movement in both countries is aimed exclusively at making more people eligible to be killed.