The ethical nightmare we won’t confront

Jun 7, 2019 by

by Douglas Murray, UnHerd:

[…] The story broke of a 17-year old Dutch girl called Noa Pothoven who had been euthanased at an ‘end of life clinic’. In a number of countries (including Italy where I was at the time), this was front page news. It was obvious why: this is exactly the sort of story which epitomises the fear felt by those who oppose the introduction of euthanasia. Outrage swept through social media.

But before the day was out, the story had been debunked. Local media reported that, rather than having died at a euthanasia clinic in The Hague, Pothoven had in fact died at home in Arnhem on 2 June after refusing to eat or drink.

Thus was a massive media misinterpretation and over-reaction corrected by cooler minds. But the underlying ethical nightmare lingers, playing on the fears of rational minds. It was all too plausible. And while people point out the media’s mistakes, no one’s addressing the underlying problem.

I have researched and written about the issue of euthanasia in Belgium and the Netherlands a number of times. It is particularly striking how relatively few people are willing to take on the deep challenges that the whole issue throws up.

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