Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel expressed his outrage over assisted suicide programs after new research details thousands died in the Netherlands over the past decade due to the programs.

“I’m very disturbed about it,” Dr. Siegel said on “Fox & Friends Weekend” Saturday.

“My role is to decrease suffering and prolong life, not to end life. There’s no reason whatsoever for me ever to do that, because we’ve seen in the United States that palliative care and hospice work. I can make people feel more comfortable who say they’re suffering or who I decide they’re suffering. Physicians should not play this role.”

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Researchers at the U.K.’s Kingston University have claimed that the Netherlands has euthanized an alarming number of otherwise healthy individuals with autism and intellectual handicaps in recent years as part of the country’s assisted suicide program.

“You end up now with the question, who decides who lives? Who decides who dies? Who makes that decision? Does the state? Does a physician? How do you decide what intellectually impaired it is? How do I decide what quality of life is?” Dr. Siegel observed.

“I cannot think of anything more disturbing than this.”

Five individuals under the age of 30, who cited autism as a factor in their decision to seek legal euthanasia, are among the cases reviewed.

“Factors directly associated with intellectual disability and/or ASD were the sole cause of suffering described in 21% of cases and a major contributing factor in a further 42% of cases,” Kingston University’s report on the issue found.

“If you’re disabled, if you have an injury, you can decide that you don’t want to live any more and some physician comes along, and they sign up for this voluntarily,” Dr. Siegel said.

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The study noted that in many cases, doctors determined there was “no prospect of improvement” for intellectually challenged individuals because there is no treatment for their handicap.

“Reasons for the EAS [euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide] request included social isolation and loneliness (77%), lack of resilience or coping strategies (56%), lack of flexibility (rigid thinking or difficulty adapting to change) (44%) and oversensitivity to stimuli (26%). In one-third of cases, physicians noted there was ‘no prospect of improvement’ as ASD and intellectual disability are not treatable,” the study stated.

Between 2012 and 2021, the Netherlands have had over 60,000 people killed at their own request according to data obtained by the Associated Press.

“My role is to decrease suffering and prolong life, not to end life..” – Dr. Marc Siegel

Protesters pray outside Dutch government buildings in The Hague, Netherlands, as the Upper House of Parliament began debating registration that will legalize euthanasia under strict guidelines. Slogan on table reads, “Human considers, God decides.” Several people with autism and intellectual disabilities have been legally euthanized in the Netherlands in recent years because they said they could not lead normal lives, researchers have found. ( (AP Photo/Serge Ligtenberg, File))

Within the U.S., a growing number of states are calling to expand the controversial practice.

Starting with Oregon in 1997, ten other states and the District of Columbia have made it legal for a terminally ill patient to ask their doctor for a lethal cocktail of drugs they ingest to die. They include California, Montana, Vermont, Washington, New Jersey, and Hawaii.

As of March, Lawmakers in ten more states have introduced physician-assisted suicide laws in 2023.

Advocates, who prefer to use the term “aid in dying” or “right to die,” say these laws restore dignity and bodily autonomy to people who are suffering.

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Critics, however, have noted profound ethical concerns with physicians helping to end someone’s life, saying it was destructive for medicine and society at large.

Southern California primary care doctor Jeff Barke practices in a state where assisted suicide is legal and described the growing movement as a “terrible advancement” for society.

“To legislate and consecrate the idea that we purposefully expedite their death to me is not what medicine is all about, not what our healing profession is about and is emblematic of what’s going on in our society in all aspects,” he told Fox News Digital.

“Fox & Friends Weekend” co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy added the fight against assisted suicide is part of the broader pro-life movement.

“A lot of people don’t understand the pro-life movement isn’t just about abortion,” she explained. “The pro-life movement has been on the front lines of defending life from conception until natural death, and that is what it has been doing. We need to bring back a culture of life if we want to end this trend, which is, as you said, so dark and so depressing to think about.”

Fox News’ Kristine Parks, Timothy H.J. Nerozzi and Alexander Hall contributed to this report.

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