The Dark Side of Euthanasia: Netherlands' Disturbing Trend of Ending Lives of Autistic Individuals and the Intellectually Disabled

Netherlands' Euthanasia Practices Under Scrutiny: Autistic Individuals and Those with Intellectual Disabilities Face Alarming End 

In a recent Cambridge University Press report on euthanasia in the Netherlands, distressing revelations have come to light regarding the euthanization of numerous autistic individuals and those with intellectual disabilities. Shockingly, these vulnerable individuals were deemed unfit to lead "normal" lives, leading to their untimely deaths.

The study, led by palliative care specialist Irene Tuffrey-Wijne from Britain's Kingston University, meticulously examined 900 case files spanning from 2012 to 2021. A staggering 39 cases were identified within this sample involving autistic or intellectually disabled individuals.

Earlier this year, it was disclosed that the Netherlands had witnessed an alarming surge in euthanasia cases, with 115 people opting for this controversial procedure despite lacking any physical ailments apart from psychiatric issues. The Netherlands' lax regulations on euthanasia have paved the way for the unthinkable, enabling the termination of lives of those with disabilities and autism, as Tuffrey-Wijne discovered.


The reported cases often cited social difficulties as the source of suffering for these individuals. For instance, one patient, a woman under the age of 30, had been unable to form friendships, leading to isolation even within her own family. Another case involved a gentleman in his 70s who struggled to keep pace with societal changes due to his autistic traits, which eventually made coping immensely challenging. Similarly, a male in his 40s battled anxiety, compulsive complaints, and loneliness arising from his limitations stemming from autism spectrum disorder (ASD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), acquired brain injury, and personality disorder.

Tragically, a man in his 20s was permitted to die solely due to feelings of loneliness and the past trauma of childhood bullying. Another woman succumbed to euthanasia due to the social isolation her behavior had led to, as her disruptive outbursts during meetings caused others to perceive her as repulsive and shun her. She found no other way to find meaning in her life.

These distressing experiences raise a disconcerting question posed by Tuffrey-Wijne: Is society content with sending the message that there is no alternative to assist these individuals, ultimately concluding that death is a more favorable outcome?


Alarming findings revealed that in one-third of the reviewed cases, individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities were considered "untreatable," leaving no room for hope or support to improve their quality of life. Consequently, euthanasia was chosen as a solution, with no further assistance or resources offered. Simon Baron-Cohen, director of Cambridge University's Autism Research Centre, condemned this practice as "abhorrent."

Tim Stainton, director of the Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship at the University of British Columbia, further emphasized the gravity of the situation, equating it to eugenics. Assisting individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities in ending their lives, he asserted, represents a troubling embrace of eugenics principles.


These revelations paint a chilling picture of euthanasia practices in the Netherlands. The ethical implications surrounding the termination of the lives of autistic individuals and those with intellectual disabilities demand urgent attention and reflection. The international community must unite to ensure that vulnerable populations receive the support, resources, and compassion they deserve, rather than relegating them to a fate that undermines their inherent value as human beings.

Article adapted from Live Action News.