Intended for healthcare professionals


Holland decriminalises voluntary euthanasia

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 21 April 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:947
  1. Tony Sheldon
  1. Utrecht

    The Netherlands has become the first country in the world to pass a law decriminalising voluntary euthanasia. Dutch doctors carrying out the practice under strict conditions will no longer be judged automatically as criminals when the law comes into force this autumn.

    The legislation will give statutory force to the conditions that apply to voluntary euthanasia, ending decades of uncertainty for the medical profession.

    It will empower the regional committees of doctors, lawyers, and ethicists, to whom doctors must report euthanasia cases, to decide whether a doctor has acted with due care and if so to close the case. Currently that power rests with the public prosecution service: the …

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