A hard choice - Euthanasia figures up 67%

Dignitas, the euthanasia clinic in Switzerland.

It was as predictable as it was unavoidable: Even though a date for a referendum on the Eighth Amendment has not yet been announced opposing camps — that phrase hardly does justice to how polarised they are — are in full campaign mode. 

Strategies and tactics are being finalised. Funding flows in all directions from all directions. It is impossible to imagine that whichever side prevails, the other will go silently into the night.

Be that as it may, is it possible that, though pressing, issues around the Eighth Amendment are no longer the only ones playing out in that sphere? Maybe.

The number of people euthanised in the Netherlands this year is set to exceed 7,000 — a 67% rise in five years. In 2012, 4,188 people died by choice.

All of them met the criteria laid down under the 2002 law that made it legal: A voluntary and well-considered request in the context of unbearable suffering from which there is no prospect of improvement or alternative remedy.

Today Irish women go abroad for abortions. Might they, in time, be joined by ever more fatally ill people who wish to end their lives?


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