Vast majority do not fundamentally reject euthanasia

© Hollandse Hoogte / Frank Muller / Zorginbeeld
Euthanasia should under certain circumstances be allowed, according to 87 percent of the adult population in the Netherlands. Conversely, 8 percent are opposed to euthanasia under all circumstances and 5 percent are unable or unwilling to say anything about it. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on the survey Perceptions 2018.

Religion plays an important role in opinions on euthanasia. 98 percent of those who do not belong to a religious denomination or ideological group say they support euthanasia in some circumstances. This share is smaller among those who do practice a religion, with considerable differences between the denominations. Muslims are relatively likely to oppose euthanasia; over 4 in 10 are of the opinion that euthanasia should never be allowed.

Stance on euthanasia, 2018 (% of adults)
ReligieEuthanasia should not be allowedEuthanasia should be allowed under certain circumstancesNo answer
Total7.787.15.2
Non-religious0.797.51.8
Roman Catholic3.391.35.4
Dutch Reformed14.583.02.5
Reformed30.964.84.3
Protestant12.577.79.8
Islamic42.243.114.7
Other29.260.310.5

80 percent in favour of allowing euthanasia in case of advanced dementia

80 percent of the adult population agree with euthanasia for patients with advanced dementia if they requested this previously in full consciousness. With a share of around 75 percent, a fairly large number of people support the option of euthanasia for terminally ill children and people with severe mental disorders. There is significantly less support in cases where people feel tired of life while being in good physical health. Over half (55 percent) of adults feel that euthanasia should be allowed for this group, while nearly one-third (32 percent) are opposed to this.

Stance on euthanasia in specific situations, 2018 (% of adults)
SituatieEuthanasia should be allowedEuthanasia should not be allowedNo answer
Advanced dementia79.511.19.4
Severe mental disorders73.713.512.8
Terminally ill children75.111.113.8
People who are tired of life54.831.813.4

No unanimity about physician’s role

Four out of 10 adults think that a physician should be able to refuse a request for euthanasia, even if the patient in question meets all criteria for euthanasia. An almost equally large group believe that a physician may not refuse in this case.

Of those who feel that a medical doctor is allowed to refuse a euthanasia request, nearly 8 in 10 state that the physician should then provide a referral to another physician. Over 1 in 10 find that this is not a physician’s obligation, while an equally large group do not know or do not wish to respond.

Are doctors allowed to refuse euthanasia? (2018)
MeningAnswer
Yes40.2
No37.6
No answer22.2

In 2018, the Regional Euthanasia Review Committees received 6,126 notifications of euthanasia. This is 4 percent of the total number of people who died in the Netherlands in that year.

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