VATICAN CITY (CNS): The Vatican has condemned the Dutch parliament’s approval of a bill to legalise euthanasia, calling it a violation of natural law and human dignity.
The bill was overwhelmingly passed by the parliament’s lower house on November 28 and will become law if, as expected, the upper house approves it next year. The Netherlands would thus become the first country to make it legal for doctors to help patients commit suicide.
“This is certainly a sad record for the Netherlands, to be first in passing such a law … that violates the dignity of the human person,” Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said.
Pope John Paul II and other Church leaders have condemned efforts to legalise euthanasia, saying that it goes against the basic principle of protecting life at all stages of human existence.
The Dutch legislation would allow physicians to carry out euthanasia or assisted suicide of a patient, if the doctor is convinced the patient has made a voluntary request to die and has considered the question carefully.
The doctor must be convinced the patient is undergoing unrelenting and unbearable suffering, but the illness need not be terminal. The bill did not stipulate that the patient’s suffering be physical.
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