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Poll Shows Danish People Favor Euthanasia

By: Unknown Author
Agence France-Presse, May 21, 2002


Danes overwhelmingly support the legalization of
euthanasia, according to an opinion poll published Tuesday that shocked
the country's health minister.

Sixty-eight percent support euthanasia, according to the PLS Ramboell poll
published in the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

The numbers jump considerably in the case of sick or suffering patients:
93 percent favor ending the suffering of the terminally ill, and 82
percent support it for incurable illnesses.

Twenty percent of the 999 people surveyed they were opposed to euthanasia
while 12 percent were undecided.

Denmark's Health Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen said he was "shocked,
especially by the numbers of people who would like to end the lives of
aged, mentally ill, and handicapped people."

"This is a dilemma for patients and for medical staff whose responsibility
is to preserve the life and health of ill people."

Danish Medical Association president Jesper Poulsen said actively ending a
life was "incompatible with the role of practitioners -- to heal and treat
sick people."

The euthanasia debate was relaunched across Europe when a terminally-ill
British woman, Diane Pretty, last month lost a landmark battle in the
European Court of Human Rights to allow her husband to kill her, but died
two weeks later.

Belgium legalized euthanasia under specific circumstances last week, while
the Netherlands last year became the world's first nation to legalize
euthanasia under certain conditions.

Like many European countries, Denmark allows for a "passive" form of
euthanasia by which doctors halt medical care.


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