European Human Rights Group Condemns Euthanasia of Disabled

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 27, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

European Human Rights Group Condemns Euthanasia of Disabled Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 27, 2005

Strasbourg, Germany ( — A European human rights group rejected a proposal promoting euthanasia and said doctors should not be encouraged to end the lives of terminally ill or disabled patients.

The Council of Europe defeated a draft resolution saying such patients should be able to declare in advance the kind of medical treatment that want limited or stopped.

The Council’s parliamentary assembly primarily opposed it because it would call on European countries to define procedures for ending treatment of such patients or for discontinuing lifesaving medical treatment when doctors believe there is little hope for survival.

"It’s a victory of the forces of life," Kevin McNamara of the council’s legal affairs and human rights committee told the Associated Press. "The overwhelming majority of deputies were concerned that euthanasia would become an issue (as divisive) as abortion. Too many vulnerable people would be at risk."

Others supported the measure saying that euthanasia is already happening in many countries.

"Scientific studies prove euthanasia is practice in many … countries. There is a big gap between criminal law and social reality," said Council of Europe deputy Dick Dees.

The Russian delegation to the Council led opposition to the euthanasia proposal.

The Russian delegation’s deputy head, State Duma Deputy Valery Grebennikov, and Senator Valery Fyodorov said the legalization of euthanasia would be problematic.

They urged their European colleagues to think not only about the legal aspects of the problem, but also about the moral and philosophical issues.