Why Are Those with IDD Choosing To Die?

CW: Assisted Suicide:

Researchers have found that a number of people with autism and intellectual disabilities have recently pursued assisted suicide in the Netherlands because they say they could not lead fulfilling lives.

Five people under under the age of 30 were involved in the cases. In each case autism was identified as their primary or only justification for euthanasia. Thus, creating an alarming precedent that some legal experts believe goes beyond the scope of the law’s original intent.

In 2002, the Netherlands became the first country to enable doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs at their patients request if they satisfied certain criteria, such as having an incurable condition causing “unbearable” physical. or psychological suffering.

According to the Netherlands euthanasia review group, approximately 60,000 people died at their own request between 2012 and 2021. The committee has released records relating to more than 900 of those people, the majority of whom were older and had diseases like as cancer, Parkinson’s, and ALS, to demonstrate how the regulations are being applied and interpreted.

Irene Tuffrey-Wijne, a palliative care specialist at the United Kingdom’s Kingston University, and her colleagues examined the documents to determine how Dutch doctors handled euthanasia requests from patients with autism or other lifelong intellectual or developmental disabilities. In May, they published their findings in the journal BJPsych Open.

39 of the 900 patients with publicly accessible case files were autistic or had other intellectual disabilities. While some were elderly, 18 were under the age of 50.

It should not be easier for disabled people to die than to live. Life with a disability can be lived, and disabled people shouldn’t be treated as a burden.

Disabled people around the world deserve equal opportunities. We should be able to enjoy our lives like our non-disabled peers. Instead, disabled people are dying because of a broken system.


Cheng, Maria. “Some Dutch People Seeking Euthanasia Cite Autism or Intellectual Disabilities, Researchers Say.” AP News, 28 June 2023, apnews.com/article/euthanasia-autism-intellectual-disabilities-netherlands-b5c4906d0305dd97e16da363575c03ae.

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