Euthanasia cases up 13 percent in Netherlands

AMSTERDAM (AP) — The commission that vets cases of euthanasia in the Netherlands says cases rose by 13 percent in the Netherlands in 2012 from 2011, the sixth consecutive year of increases.

Doctor-administered euthanasia for terminally ill people facing unbearable suffering was legalized in the Netherlands in 2002. For several years, the reported number of cases declined, but since 2006 they have risen steadily. In 2012, 4,188 cases were recorded, or approximately 3 percent of all deaths in the Netherlands — a record, and up from 1,923 in 2006.

Most cases are due to cancer.

The commission said in its annual report published Tuesday the reasons for the increase cannot be determined with certainty. Leading theories include a growing awareness and acceptance of the practice among both Dutch doctors and patients.

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