By ARTHUR MAX
Associated Press Writer
April 1, 2002, 6:39 AM EST
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- Starting Monday, Dutch doctors may legally help end the lives of hopelessly ill patients suffering unbearable pain, as a law permitting euthanasia went into force.
Although the Netherlands became the first country to legalize mercy killings, a political debate continues over further relaxing the stringent guidelines for doctors, even allowing them to prescribe suicide pills for the elderly who are not terminally ill.