Euthanasia update

Back in January I had a post on some Dutch Euthanasia statistics that were making the rounds in the blogosphere at the time.

Basically the claim was that the rates of Euthanasia and assisted suicide in jurisdictions allowing them were flat which was supposed to disprove the idea of a slippery slope.

The main argument was that in the Netherlands Eutanasias made up the same percentage of deaths in 1990 and 2005.  The 2010 report wasn’t out yet. I argued that the trend had a short interruption between 2001 and 2005, which is naturally explained by other factors, but that it had been upwards both before and after that interruption. For the rise since 2005 I relied on the officially reported numbers, which are known to be an undercount (which is why there are separate polls in the first place):

Now one might hope these advances have reversed the trend permanently, but a look at the official statistics shows it isn’t so.  They have been rising again, and this time better reporting can’t be blamed alone. 2910 Euthanasias were officially reported in the year 2010, compared to the estimated 2325 for 2005 of which ca. 80% had been reported. Even in the best case, where reporting is now perfect, the euthanasia rate is up by a roughly a quarter  since the 2005 result on which the idea of it having stabilized rested.

The update is that the results of the 2010 poll (pdf) are now out, and I was right except that we are not living in that best case. The reporting rate is actually slightly down (77% when it was 80% in 2005) and the Euthanasia rate rose from 1.7% in 2005 to 2.8% in 2010 which makes for a relative increase of almost 65% compared to the roughly 25% I called the best possible case. The decline between 2001 and 2005 is more than compensated for, making the 2010 result the highest rate ever. So as I said in January the rates aren’t flat.

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