Netherlands Human Rights Record Criticized Because of Euthanasia and Abortion

By Stefano Gennarini, J.D. | July 22, 2022

GENEVA, July 22 (C-Fam) In a submission to the UN Human Rights Council, C-Fam, publisher of the Friday Fax, accused the Netherlands of violating the rights of children and elderly persons through its liberal abortion and euthanasia laws.

The Netherlands should “take steps to follow international obligations to protect the right to life including in the prenatal phase, regardless of disability or diagnosis, and to uphold the value of life until natural death, avoiding interventions that artificially induce death.

C-Fam urges the Netherlands repeal its euthanasia law and to limit prenatal genetic testing to avoid eugenic abortion. The recommendation was made as the liberal European nation’s human rights record comes under scrutiny from the Council in November. Non-governmental organizations are permitted to make submissions of information in preparation for that review.

“Instead of promoting the death of the most vulnerable in their society, the Netherlands should increase access to quality medical care, including quality palliative care to control pain and other symptoms, and to provide psychological, social, and spiritual assistance,” reads the submission of C-Fam to the Human Rights Council.

Even liberal human rights bodies and organizations have called attention to the extraordinarily high number of cases of euthanasia in the Netherlands and their continual increase each year. In the Netherlands, it is easy for a person to be euthanized, both voluntarily and involuntarily.

Doctors may terminate a patient’s life without seeking a judge’s opinion, simply by getting the approval of a government hotline. Euthanasia is carried out on children, patients with dementia and other mental disabilities, even just depression. The patients may be sedated before the fatal drugs are administered.

C-Fam charges that the vague laws, combined with the absence of effective accountability and review mechanisms from government commissions and courts, have created a lax environment that is rife for abuse. Because of this overly permissive environment doctors and health professionals may often make decisions to euthanize a person without offering alternative treatment and support and at times making a decision in place of their patients.

The submission also criticizes the widespread practice of eugenic abortion in the Netherlands. The country has come under fire in recent years because women report feeling pressured to abort children with disabilities. The combinations of policies and social pressure to abort has been compared to the period when the small country was under Nazi occupation.

C-Fam’s submission on the Netherlands is one of four C-Fam submissions to the upcoming session of the Universal Periodic Review, a process whereby each country’s human rights record is scrutinized by the Human Rights Council every five years. The other three C-Fam submissions focus on supporting countries that have laws that protect life and the family, consistent with international human rights law.

In submissions on the human rights records of Indonesia and Brazil, C-Fam praised the two countries for sponsoring the Geneva Consensus Declaration, an agreement signed by 36 countries committing them to defending life, protection of the family, promoting women’s health, all while respecting sovereignty.

In a submission on the record of Poland, C-Fam analyzes the obligations of Poland under international human rights and urges the Eastern European country to stand fast to pro-life and pro-family policies despite pressure from the European Union.