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Pro Choice 

Click here to listenRecently conservative people in the USA have been saying some very offensive things about the Dutch medical profession. We could even hear it on this side of the ocean! They said in Holland newly borns can be euthanized if they have a little birth defect. If a child is born with only four fingers, the parents can say: "Oh, this child is not perfect. We don't want it. Please euthanize it!"

Well, that is not the way it works! It is amazing that the "Pro life" movement resorts to such horrible lies to keep the people from taking a more liberal point of view. They make it sound like "Pro choice" leads directly towards Sodom and Gomorra, just like in the Netherlands.
Well, let me tell you that in the Netherlands the doctors do everything that is within their power to preserve life of people of all ages. Julia's grandson was born with a serious heart defect and he would not have lived for a year if nothing was done about it. So the doctors performed an open heart surgery on him when he was only a few months old! And by now he is a happy little toddler.
It is true the rules for euthanasia are more liberal in the Netherlands. In our country it is possible to stop the feeding of a patient who is in a coma for a long time without hope of recovery. It is possible for people who know they will soon die in a slowly and painful way to ask their doctor to speed up the process and help them avoid this needless suffering. Such decisions are never made without consulting another doctor.

Speaking about the medical profession: There is another misunderstanding I have often heard. Some people think that in the Netherlands the government will pay for sexual reassignment surgery. Well, they don't! I do not have to pay for my surgery myself, because it is covered by my health insurance.
People also say it is quite easy to get an approval for a sex change in the Netherlands. Well, it is not. First of all, there is no free choice in where to get your sex change. There are only two hospitals that perform this surgery. And in these hospitals the same Harry Benjamin Standards of Care apply as in the USA. As a matter of fact the rules are even more strict than those in the Standards of Care. We have a Real Life Test period of 18 months. We do not have the requirement of two letters of recommendation from mental health specialists for surgery, but instead we have a whole team, specialized in gender issues to make the decision.
I thought I could do without such a long real life test, since I had been living full-time as a woman for two years before I was diagnosed. The Standards of Care do leave room for such an exception, but the rules of the hospital don't. The Dutch gender team is very careful to avoid any mistake.

So the next time a conservative is trying to scare you out of a "Pro Choice" point of view by referring to the apocalypse we are heading for in the Netherlands, you can explain to him that the doctors in the Netherlands are just as conscientious as those in the USA.

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