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Santorum's remarks on euthanasia insult, anger the Dutch

Santorum's remarks on euthanasia insult, anger the Dutch

Rick Santorum made remarks about the Dutch elderly heath care at a Columbia, Missouri forum, hosted by James Dobson of Focus on the Family, which, according to Rachel Maddow’s Dutch translator, are funny, yet insulting to the Dutch, because apparently Santorum did not check his facts concerning the Netherlands.

Below are statements from a Dutch news source, translated with Google Translator:

He abhors abortion and euthanasia. And so he abhors the Netherlands. Because we in the Netherlands murder in his elderly that it is a delight.

This proclaims during his campaign. It was almost two weeks back on film. Euthanasia in the Netherlands would not always voluntary basis, he shocked his hearing on 6 February for. And Santorum did a little shovel unsubstantiated 'facts' in his claim.

What a fantasy that man anyway. It would be laughable if not Santorum just still very much in the race for the Republican candidate would be that later this year against Barack Obama needs to record in the race for the presidency of the most powerful country in the world.

Santorum stated over half of Dutch elderly people wear a bracelet that states, “Don’t euthanize me” and do not go to the hospital because the Dutch forces euthanasia on the elderly in their country.  He continued to say that the elderly in the Netherlands see a doctor in another country just to keep hospitals in the Netherlands from euthanizing them.  Santorum went on to insist that the Netherlands involuntarily euthanizes over half of their elderly.

Santorum's statements as transcribed by Maddow's website:

"In the Netherlands, people wear different bracelets if they are elderly," Santorum said. "And the bracelet is: 'Do not euthanize me.' Because they have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands but half of the people who are euthanized — 10% of all deaths in the Netherlands — half of those people are euthanized involuntarily at hospitals because they are older and sick. And so elderly people in the Netherlands don't go to the hospital. They go to another country, because they are afraid, because of budget purposes, they will not come out of that hospital if they go in there with sickness."

After that, he jumped on the anti-abortion bandwagon again; blaming Obama for leading us down the road of killing people, including babies, saying that acceptance of abortion is the erosion of America.

Maddow’s Dutch translator, Erik Mouthaan, stated that none of what Santorum said is true concerning the elderly in the Netherlands and insulting to the Dutch.  According to Mouthaan, euthanasia is voluntary in the Netherlands and not forced on anyone and people in the Netherlands are upset about his statements.  He also stated that the Dutch are amazed that Santorum, who is running for presidency, is not only taken seriously, but is also allowed to “blithely and openly” lie.

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According to the Netherlands’ rules on euthanasia, consent and a waiting period is required before a terminally ill patient is euthanized and if a doctor does it without the patient’s consent, they can be charged with murder.  Everything must be documented before one is euthanized.

In 2010, the Netherlands did a review of the assisted procedure of the original Euthanasia rule set in 2002.

Of the 2,667 notifications on which the committees were able to reach conclusions in the year under review, they found in nine cases that the physician had not acted in accordance with Foreword the due care criteria. In five of these cases, it was the way in which the euthanasia or assisted suicide procedure was performed that was deemed not to comply with the criteria – sufficient reason to devote a symposium marking the departure of coordinating chair J.J.H. Suyver in December 2010 to the topic ‘Performance of euthanasia and assisted suicide with due medical care’.

According to the 2010 report, "Due Care" is as follows:

Physicians must:

a  be satisfied that the patient’s request is voluntary and well considered;

b  be satisfied that the patient’s suffering is unbearable, with no prospect of improvement;

c  inform the patient about his situation and prognosis;

d  have come to the conclusion together with the patient that there is no reasonable alternative in the patient’s situation;

e  consult at least one other, independent physician, who must see the patient and give a written opinion on whether the due care criteria set out in (a) to (d) have been fulfilled;

f exercise due medical care and attention in terminating the patient’s life or assisting in his suicide.

Apparently, the procedure is between the physician and the patient, as well as another second opinion from another doctor, insuring that the patient understands the situation and prognosis.  The procedure is voluntary, without pressure from anyone, but the pain and suffering of one’s condition is assessed to make sure it is unbearable.

In the case of potential depression, which can contribute to the patient’s pain and suffering, the physician calls in a licensed practicing psychiatrist to access the mental condition of the individual to insure depression is not driving the patient to want death.

Depression often adds to the patient’s suffering (see, for example, case 13). The possibility that it will also adversely affect his decisional competence cannot be ruled out. If there is any doubt about whether the patient is depressed, a psychiatrist will in practice often be consulted in addition to the independent physician. The attending physician must therefore ascertain, or obtain confirmation, that the patient is decisionally competent. If other medical practitioners have been consulted, it is important to make this known to the committee.

Santorum, according to various sources and the Netherlands, "erroneously" made comments at the forum hosted by James Dobson, of Focus on the Family.

As the Web site Buzzfeed reported, Mr. Santorum’s erroneous comments, made at a public forum hosted by the conservative leader James Dobson on Feb. 3, failed to attract much notice until they were fact-checkedand mocked, in the Dutch press last weekend.

A Dutch politician supposedly wants Santorum publically rebuked for the statements he made, but the Dutch embassy in Washington declined to comment on the remarks.  The embassy spokeswoman stated that Dutch government wants to stay out of U.S. politics and not get involved with the Presidential process in the States, despite a member of Dutch Parliament wanting Santorum chastised for his comments about the Netherlands.

On Thursday, Dutch Member of Parliament Frans Timmermans, a leading member of the opposition left-leaning Labor Party inThe Hague, blasted his government’s silence.

He wrote in a post on his Facebook page that he wanted Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal to rebuke Santorum for his “scandalous accusations,” The Times reported.

“This cannot be allowed to rest,” he wrote, according to The Times.

According to Fact Check, Santorum "grossly mischaracterized" the Netherlands care for their elderly at the faith conference, at Grace Bible College in Columbia, Missouri, which prompted a “furious backlash from the Netherlands”.

  • Santorum claimed legal euthanasia is responsible for “10 percent of all deaths for the Netherlands.” Government statistics show euthanasia is climbing, but represented only 2.3 percent in 2010, according to the most recent data.
  • Santorum added that half of the people euthanized were killed “involuntarily.” A representative of the Royal Dutch Medical Association said “there are no forced cases of euthanasia.” Dutch euthanasia review boards found nine cases in 2010 where doctors “had not acted in accordance with the due care criteria,” mostly for how the procedure was performed — not because it was against anyone’s will.
  • Santorum claimed the Dutch elderly wear bracelets that say “do not euthanize me,” but the Dutch government and medical association say no such bracelets exists. Santorum “might be confused with a ‘do not resuscitate’ bracelet or necklace” worn by some patients, a medical association representative said.

According to Huffington Post, the statistics given in the 2010 by the Regional Euthanasia Review Committees report of the 3,136 cases of euthanasia are 2.3 percent of the 136,058 total deaths in the Netherlands were assisted suicide.  Even the Huffington Post characterized Santorum’s remarks about euthanasia in the Netherlands as grossly misrepresenting the facts and none of what he stated is true, which the Netherlands are contesting.

About Mriana

Mriana is a humanist and the author of "A Source of Misery", who grew up in the Church of God, Anderson Indiana. After she became an adult, she joined the Episcopal Church, but later left the Church and became a humanist. She has two grown sons and raises cats. Mriana raised her sons in the Episcopal Church, but in their teen years, they left the Church and she soon followed. One of her sons became a "Tao Buddhist" and the other a None, creating his own world view. She enjoys writing, reading, science, philosophy, psychology, and other subjects. Mriana is also an animal lover, who cares for their welfare as living beings, who are part of the earth. She is a huge Star Trek fan in a little body.
  • I know insults are not allowed, but I am very close to breaking this rule right now. What Santorum says about the Dutch is ridiculous and a shameless and impudent lie! And he knows it, he is just using these lies to scare people and turn them against Obama.
    He might even be president of the US – I hope he won't – and he is allowed to tell such evident lies? That is outrageous.

  • zzzzz

    Please, would someone give him some more rope?

    • Nah, he needs a shorter rope so he'll hang sooner. (I can't believe I just said that) Santorum really gets on my last nerve (not that I have many left right now), but I have a feeling, if he wins the primary, he probably won't win because he's alienated so many people. Mind you, we do have Dutch immigrants too and they have family back in the Netherlands and emigrants in the Netherlands with family here. Just one more group he's alienated.

      • John Doe

        I'm not at all surprised. This is all just a game. Most of the candidates are just dolls and if you want one of them to win, all the others have to be obviously "Wrong choice". I can't believe that this guy has no advisers. Actually I'm sure he has plenty. Point is: He's not supposed to be the next US president. Someone else is.

        Now I live in Europe and I'm quite aware of the standards in Netherlands /a lot higher than in my home country lol/ and I'm sure I'm being Captain Obvious here, but meh, that guy is an extremist, radical idiot.

      • zzzzz

        How do you speak to ignorance? There were people listening to him and BELIEVING what he said. These distortions which pass for fact are crippling.

  • The right loves to demonize and mischaracterize the godless Netherlands because it is very progressive. Bill O'Reilly did the same on Fox, portraying Amsterdam as rife with crime, prostitution and drugs.

    Wasn't there something recently where the Republicans were saying lies in the House before the repeal of don't ask, don't tell, making up some kind of weird story about gays compromising the Dutch military and angering one of Holland's top military people? I'd have to look it up, but I vaguely remember that.

    There's a part of me that hopes Santorum wins the GOP nomination because the debates leading up to the general election will be revealing. Like cockroaches, some of the extremist religious elements in this country have wielded a lot of power, but scatter whenever the light shines on them (like all the dominionism talk when Rick Perry had his big prayer rally, which we don't hear much about again after the fact). Santorum will bring the light of day to the discussion because he has made so many extremist remarks that there's no way the media will ignore them.


  • kaitlyn4life


    It seems to me, Mr.Santorum wasn't wrong. Remember that most people are insulted if you point out obvious character flaws in them, and deny them too.

  • Sally

    Santorum is out, but the insanity continues. TN just passed a law in both Houses that says any miscarriage after 8 weeks is murder, even the sponrtaneous ones. So an 8 week embryo is a person and if it dies, mommy is a murderer. Nice work, GOP.

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