Netherlands

Donor law and ‘completed life’ champion MP Pia Dijkstra to quit politics

Photo of D66 MP Pia Dijkstra
Photo of D66 MP Pia Dijkstra

D66 MP Pia Dijkstra

D66 MP Pia Dijkstra is quitting politics after the general election in March next year, after initiating landmark donor registration legislation and a bill to facilitate euthanasia for people who consider their life to be complete.

Dijkstra (65) is leaving because she thinks it’s time ‘to make way for the next generation’, she told the Volkskrant in an interview.

Dijkstra has been an MP for 10 years during which time she was the driving force behind the new donor legislation which came into effect in July. Under the new law everyone over 18 will be automatically registered as a donor unless they actively object.

Dijkstra’s proposal to make euthanasia available to people who feel they have lived a complete life is controversial and unlikely to become law any time soon in the face of opposition from coalition partners CDA and ChristenUnie.

However, Dijkstra said she is not discouraged because ‘the law on euthanasia and the donor law were 20 to 30 years in the making’.

Dijkstra remarked that the political climate had hardened during her time as an MP. ‘I submitted my bill on euthanasia for completed lives two months ago and then a priest who works for the [religious broadcaster] EO put a picture of the grim reaper on Twitter subtitled ‘Death 66’. I have put up with a lot of abuse in my time but this is going much too far.’

Dijkstra is often vilified on the social media, she said, but political parties, too, join in the fray. CDA MP Madeleine van Toorenburg, for example, said D66 was obsessed by death. ‘You have to wonder if she knows what she is doing, ‘ Dijkstra said. Van Toorenburg later apologised.

The MP, who was a journalist and television news presenter before she entered politics, said she was looking forward to being ‘boss of her own time again’.

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