Luxembourg Officially Becomes Third European Nation to Legalize Euthanasia

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 17, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Luxembourg Officially Becomes Third European Nation to Legalize Euthanasia

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 17
, 2009

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg ( — The tiny European nation has become the third to legalize the grisly practice of euthanasia on the continent. In February 2008, the parliament initially approved a bill to legalize the practice and then voted on a motion to strip the powers of Grand Duke Henri, who refused to sign the bill into law.

Lawmakers approved allowing doctors to directly help patients kill themselves without facing any legal consequences.

Henri’s actions helped delay implementation of the bill, which the parliament had approved on a vote of 30 to 26. Eventually the parliament unanimously voted to remove the power of the Grand Duke by changing article 34 of their constitution.

Alex Schadenberg, the head of the North American-based Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, ash been following the developments in Luxembourg and says he’s disappointed the law will go into effect and put elderly and disabled patients at risk.

"We are saddened that Luxembourg has decided to legalize the direct and intentional killing of its residents through euthanasia, but we are thankful that the Grand Duke had the fortitude to stand his ground and temporarily hold off the legalization in his nation," he said.

"The Grand Duke has lost all his constitutional power because he attempted to stop an unjust law in his country," he added.

Belgium and the Netherlands are the two other countries that have legalized euthanasia and Switzerland has allowed assisted suicide.

Prime Minister Jean-Claude Junker sponsored the motion to strip Henri of his powers so the euthanasia bill could go through. Nearly all of the members of Juncker’s Social Christian Party voted against the bill but supported the constitutional change.

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, the president of Human Life International, previously told he was proud of Henri for standing his ground. Euteneuer expressed his appreciation in a letter faxed to the Grand Duke.

"Your well-formed Catholic conscience is a precious gift that honors the Royal Family of Luxembourg, as one of the greatest responsibilities of the monarchy is the duty to resist demagoguery and all attacks on public morality," the Catholic pro-life advocate said.

"You have our deepest admiration and support in this battle to respect life. Thank you for the magnificent example that you have given to all the heads of state in this difficult period of history," Euteneuer concluded.

Under the bill, patients can request help in dying in a living will or advance directive and doctors must get a second opinion that patients are in a "grave and incurable condition" before killing them.

The measure also creates a national commission that will evaluate every case to ensure the law and its guidelines are followed when patients are killed.

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