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The Netherlands last month became the first country to legalize euthanasia. The vote to pass the historic law, however, was marked with thousands of protesters outside the Dutch government building in The Hague.
The passage of the law by its senate approves a bill passed by the lower house last November. Euthanasia has been practiced, however, in hospitals and hospices for decades. As a result, guidelines adopted by parliament in 1993 are now part of the legally binding requirements, including a long physician-patient relationship and excluding the right from nonresidents of the Netherlands.
Physicians involved in voluntary euthanasia or suicide must:
• Section 293(2) of the Dutch Criminal Code.