A man who was found guilty of helping his mother kill herself in the Netherlands has just been cleared of any criminal responsibility. This shows a growing openness towards assisted suicide, and is one more step towards the relaxation of rules governing euthanasia and assisted suicide.
In 2008, Mr. Heringa provided his mother with enough pills for a fatal overdose. He was found guilty of that crime in 2013. However, the court didn't punish him, other than finding him guilty. There were no consequences to his actions, despite having been found guilty. It was a clear message from the tribunal: Even if you are guilty of committing assisted suicide, even if you aren't a physician, you will not have to face the consequences.
Now, the court has absolved him of the crime. The guilty verdict disappeared. The judge stated that it wasn't fair that Mr. Heringa "had to decide between obeying the law against assisting suicide and his 'unwritten moral duty' to help his mother" die.
There's something to be afraid of: in less than 20 years, assisted suicide in the Netherlands has become an unwritten moral duty.Share