Dutch Government Upset Italian Official Blasted It Over Baby Euthanasia

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 18, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Dutch Government Upset Italian Official Blasted It Over Baby Euthanasia Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 18, 2006

Amsterdam, Netheralands (LifeNews.com) — The Dutch government is upset with an Italian official who bashed a new euthanasia policy in the Netherlands that allows doctors to take the lives of disabled newborns they think are beyond medical hope.

Italian Parliamentary Relations Minister Carlo Giovanardi told a radio program Thursday that Nazi thinking was re-emerging in Europe through the new Dutch policies.

Holland was the first European nation to legalize euthanasia and in 2001 and observers believe thousands of cases occur every year. Some pro-life residents of the country where specialized bracelets telling doctors to provide them with lifesaving medical treatment if they are injured and unable to make their own medical decisions.

But Dutch Prime Minister Balkenende is upset with Giovanardi’s remarks and plans to bring them up with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi at a European summit next week, Dutch news agency ANP reported.

"This is scandalous and unacceptable … it is not the way to get along in Europe," Balkenende said.

Some doctors, like those at University Medical Centre in Groningen, a city in northern Holland, have already been euthanizing disabled babies under protocols the hospital put together. At least 20-25 babies per year have been put to death by doctors who don’t think they will survive anyway.

Eduard Verhagen, clinical director of pediatrics, came up with the euthanasia guidelines which are expected to be put in place nationwide allow doctors to kill newborns in cases involving “unbearable suffering" as long as their is parental consent and other doctors are consulted for their input on the baby’s prospects.

Bert Dorenbos, chairman of the Cry for Life organization, told the London Times the practice is "very scary."

“It is a terrible thing,” he said. Under the new guidelines “patients, particularly children, will need protection from euthanasia-minded doctors. It is very worrying indeed."

"It means that doctors will have a freer hand as to whether to end the life of a child or not. It is a slippery slope," he has said about the practice.

Last year, reports showed doctors in Holland had engaged in 22 cases of euthanizing babies with spina bifida, a disabling birth defect affecting the spinal column that has been repaired in surgeries. The doctors were never prosecuted for killing the infants.

Prosecutors said they would not charge the doctors as long as they followed official protocols set up by the Groningen hospital where they worked.