Belgium Looks to Expand Euthanasia to Minors Even After Abuses

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 19, 2012   |   6:54PM   |   Brussels, Belgium

Belgium is looking to expand its euthanasia law to include minors — even though reports show the 10-year-old law has suffered from widespread abuses, including involuntary euthanasia.

From the AFP story:

Belgium is considering a significant change to its decade-old euthanasia law that would allow minors and Alzheimer’s sufferers to seek permission to die. The proposed changes to the law were submitted to parliament Tuesday by the Socialist party and are likely to be approved by other parties, although no date has yet been put forward for a parliamentary debate.”The idea is to update the law to take better account of dramatic situations and extremely harrowing cases we must find a response to,” party leader Thierry Giet said.The draft legislation calls for “the law to be extended to minors if they are capable of discernment or affected by an incurable illness or suffering that we cannot alleviate.”

Wesley J, Smith, an attorney who is an expert on end-of-life issues, commented on the news.

“Belgium has jumped head-first off a vertical moral cliff with its euthanasia law. As I have documented here and elsewhere, the Belgians have permitted joint euthanasia deaths of an elderly couple and now couple organ harvesting with the euthanasia killings of people with disabilities and even, mental illness,” he said. “Now, the country looks poised to expand the category of killables to minors and Alzheimer’s patients.”

Smith continued: “Is anyone surprised? Once a culture accepts killing as an acceptable answer to human suffering, the culture of death is never satiated. It is never enough.”

A 10-year review of how the euthanasia law has fared in Belgium–which among other wrongs has seen the coupling of E with organ harvesting–shows the pattern I described unfolding before our very eyes. From a report by the European Institute of Bioethics, “Euthanasia in Belgium: Ten Years On:”



From the time of its initial report and subsequent reports, the Commission for Control and Assessment acknowledged its inability to act going on to say that it is not capable of assessing the proportion of declared cases of euthanasia compared with the number of real cases which have actually taken place” Yet, in 2002 the stated objective of bringing euthanasia out of the shadows was a major argument made by those in favour of its legalization.