MP questions Santorum claims

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Dutch Labour MP Frans Timmermans has demanded to know why the Dutch embassy didn't defend Dutch euthanasia policy after comments by Rick Santorum at a recent presentation in the US. 

Santorum, in the race to become the Republican presidential candidate, claimed that forced euthanasia accounts for 5 percent of all deaths in the Netherlands.

(Read more below video...)

The film was made at the meeting - held at a religious college - by rightwingwatch.org from a position in the audience.

Mr Timmermans wants to know why the Dutch embassy has not challenged the US politician over the comment. The embassy says it does not want to interfere with the US elections.

"According to the New York Times, the ambassador gave “no comment” on Santorum’s scandalous accusations aimed at our country. How is that possible?", Mr Timmermans wrote on Facebook. "It’s not right."

Rick Santorum is a conservative Catholic running to become the Republican presidential candidate and is doing well in the opinion polls. During the meeting, he said that 10 percent of deaths in the Netherlands were caused by euthanasia and that "half of those people are euthanised involuntarily.” He goes on to say that the elderly seek treatment abroad to avoid Dutch hospitals and come out alive. He also claimed that elderly patients wear bracelets with the text “Don’t euthanize me”. The audience can be heard gasping.

The figures cited by the US politician are incorrect. Only two percent of deaths in the Netherlands are attributed to euthanasia. Dutch law is very strict about euthanasia only being carried out at the request of the patient him or herself and the patient must be suffering unbearably from an incurable condition. The patient's request must also be assessed by two doctors.

The issue has been raised in many small reports in US papers, but is hardly mentioned in the Dutch press.

(nc/rk)

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Read more: New York Times

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