Dutch Churches Fight Euthanasia Law

Article excerpt

Churches and other religious groups are cooperating in a last-ditch attempt to stop the Netherlands from becoming the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia. Officials representing more than 50 religious and social organizations have signed a petition calling for a government bill on mercy killing to be rejected by the Senate.

The petition was presented March 13 to parliamentary officials in the Dutch capital, The Hague. Signatories include Muslim and Jewish religious leaders as well as Christians. To underline the wide diversity of the signatories, the petition's principal statement is accompanied by separate declarations in which various organizations explain their particular objections to euthanasia.

The bill was approved with a large majority November 28 by the Dutch parliament's Second Chamber, but has yet to be passed by the First Chamber (the Senate) before coming into force. That vote, due on April 10, is generally thought to be a mere formality. Opinion polls have shown that a clear majority of Dutch people supports the proposed law.

Mercy killing has been tolerated for many years in the Netherlands, but it remains illegal. …

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