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Former euthanasia advocate on why he changed his mind

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 11 September 2019, 4:40PM
Dr Theo Boer used to support euthanasia until the law was passed in The Netherlands. (Photo / Getty)

The euthanasia debate is back in parliament this afternoon, inching closer to a decision whether assisted dying should be allowed in New Zealand.

David Seymour's watered down his end of life choice bill several times to make sure parliament passes it.

As it stands, now only people with a terminal illness that will likely kill them within six months would be eligible.

Dr Theo Boer, a professor of health care ethics at Kampen University in The Netherlands, submitted on the bill with the benefit of hindsight from his own country.

He told Heather du Plessis-Allan that he can be sympathetic to individual cases of euthanasia, but he has seen that a law creates a demand. 

"If you look at certain regions in The Netherlands where the percentage of euthanasia is now up to 14 per cent, and that is of all deaths."

Dr Boer says he does not believe it will remain for exceptional cases, as the law normalises it. 

He admits that people may just become more confident in the option of euthanasia, but he says that Seymour's law suggests palliative care is not good enough.

"What we've seen in The Netherlands is that this is not about pain." 

ON AIR: Marcus Lush Nights

8PM - Midnight