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article imageSantorum ‘grossly mischaracterized’ Netherlands euthanasia policy

By Lynn Herrmann     Feb 26, 2012 in Politics
Amsterdam - GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s “demagogic” social message of women flying small planes, worship of Israel and winking at Iran has another bizarre twist and includes elderly Dutch people wearing “Do not euthanize me” bracelets.
The Dutch government is being urged to make a public statement over Santorum’s recent comments on the Dutch euthanasia policy, in which the Republican presidential hopeful falsely claimed forced euthanasia in the Netherlands is responsible for five percent of the country’s deaths.
Labour MP Frans Timmermans is calling on Foreign minister Uri Rosenthal to make a public statement over the “scandalous” comments ushered forth by Santorum. “I have asked him to make a public statement. This cannot be allowed to rest,” Timmermans said on his Facebook page, according to Dutch News.
American media has finally begun scrutinizing comments Santorum has made in his run to the top of recent polls, showing him out in front of the GOP field. In the scrutiny was evidence of false claims by the Pennsylvania senator, called one of the most corrupt senators in the United States in 2006, over the Netherlands’ euthanasia policy.
A video posted to YouTube by Right Wing Watch, an arm of People for the American Way, shows Santorum stating the elderly Dutch wear a bracelet which reads “Do not euthanize me.” He continues with his pronouncement,
Because they have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands, but half the people who are euthanized every year — and it’s 10 percent of all deaths for 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’re afraid because of budget purposes that they will not come out of that hospital if they go into it with sickness.
The New York Times notes the Dutch ambassador to the US has refused comment on Santorum’s remarks, who has said the Dutch government’s preference is not to get involved in the American presidential race.
Voluntary euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands since 2002, and accounted for about two percent of deaths in 2010, Dutch News reports. The procedure requires consent of two doctors and is carried out under strict conditions.
Dutch embassy spokeswoman Carla Bundy told the Washington Post, “According to the Ministry of Health, ‘Do not euthanize me’ bracelets do not exist in the Netherlands.”, a nonpartisan group which monitors U.S. politicians’ factual accuracy, said Santorum, during his participation at religious forum earlier in February, “grossly mischaracterized” the Netherlands euthanasia policy.
Last week, Common Dreams said Santorum is delivering a "demagogic social message," betrayed by his Mister Rogers appearance.
Santorum’s campaign has not responded to requests for explanations where the “corrupt” Senator’s sources obtained information for his euthanasia comments.
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