The number of assisted suicides in the Netherlands rose by 13% in 2012, the sixth consecutive year of increases, according to the commission that vets voluntary euthanasia in the country.
Doctor-administered euthanasia for terminally ill people facing unbearable suffering was legalised in the Netherlands in 2002. For several years, the reported number of cases declined, but it has risen steadily since 2006. In 2012, a record 4,188 cases were recorded, about 3% of all deaths in the Netherlands, against 1,923 in 2006. Most cases are due to cancer.
The commission said in its annual report published on Tuesday that the reasons for the increase cannot be determined with certainty. Leading theories include a growing awareness and acceptance of the practice among Dutch doctors and patients, The Guardian informs.