When Did Belgium Legalize Euthanasia

Analysis of the anonymous database of all euthanasia cases reported to the Federal Commission for the Control and Evaluation of Euthanasia. “Belgian football team celebrates life of terminally ill fan on the eve of death by euthanasia” (Washington Post — March 4, 2015) More than 20,000 fans bid farewell to Lorenzo Schoonbaert, 41. He whistled the referee and kicked the ball for a few seconds. The next day, he died from a lethal injection. Between 2003 and 2013, the proportion of cases involving patients aged 80 years and older increased from 17.0% to 35.0% (p< 0.001), while the proportion of cases aged 18 to 59 years decreased from 34.5% to 16.5% (p < 0.001) (Table 2). An increasing proportion of euthanasia cases involved people living in nursing homes (from 5.1% to 12.1%, p < 0.001) and people diagnosed with other cancer (from 15.7% to 31.3%, p < 0.001), while the proportion of cases who died in hospital (from 52.3% to 42.6%, p < 0.001) and people diagnosed with cancer (from 84.3% to 68.7%, p < 0.001) decreased. The proportion of euthanasia cases among those expected to die in the foreseeable future increased from 91.9% to 85.3% (p < 0.001). An increasing proportion of reported cases were in individuals diagnosed with a neuropsychiatric disorder (from 0.8% to 3.9%, p < 0.001). "Belgians killed by euthanasia after botched sex change" (Telegraph – 1 October 2013) Nathan, born Nancy, Verhelst, 44, received legal euthanasia on Monday morning, most likely by lethal injection, for "unbearable mental suffering".

Wim Distelmans, a cancer specialist who performed euthanasia, is the same doctor who gave lethal injections late last year to congenital deaf twins who feared they would also go blind. Belgium has the most liberal euthanasia law in the world. And although this country is predominantly Roman Catholic, polls here show overwhelming support for the right to die by euthanasia. “Belgium jumps off the cliff of moral euthanasia” (National Review Online — October 31, 2013) Belgium, where euthanasia is now legal for people over 18, is now considering extending it to children. Dr Gerlant van Berlaer, a paediatric oncologist at a Brussels hospital, says the changes would legalise what is already happening informally. For more information on euthanasia laws, see the ADF International White Paper. The Belgian law legalizing the euthanasia of capable adults and emancipated minors was adopted on 28 May 2002. It entered into force on 3 September 2002.

Text of the law “Revealed: Three children are among the thousands who die of euthanasia under Belgium`s sweeping laws.” (Daily Mail — July 23, 2018) An official report showed that the annual number of euthanasia cases in all age groups has increased almost fivefold in ten years. In 2014, Belgium extended its euthanasia laws to all minors. The development of euthanasia varies from country to country. The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Colombia and 5 US states (Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont and California) allow some form of medically assisted euthanasia.23 Official reports from Oregon, Vermont and Washington, where only physician-assisted suicide is legal and euthanasia is not, have also shown an increase in the number of officially reported deaths. although with much lower incidences than in Belgium and the Netherlands.23–28 Even within Belgium, the evolution of practice has been different between Flanders and Wallonia, as our study shows. The relative under-representation of reported euthanasia cases in the French-speaking community and differences in case characteristics confirm previous studies, which have revealed significant differences between Flanders and Wallonia in terms of euthanasia practice, attitudes and knowledge.10–12,14 These differences suggest that euthanasia legislation has no predetermined impact on end-of-life medical practice and that elements also influence their development. “Are there cracks in the attitude of Belgians towards euthanasia?” (BioEdge — May 10, 2014) A second official complaint has been filed against the president of the Belgian committee that regulates euthanasia for the euthanasia of a woman suffering from depression. On February 13, 2014, Belgium legalized euthanasia by lethal injection for children. By 86 votes in favour, 44 against and 12 abstentions, the lower house of parliament approved the bill, which had already been adopted by the country`s Senate. Young children are allowed to end their lives with the help of a doctor, in the world`s most radical extension of a euthanasia law.

By law, there is no age limit for minors who can receive a lethal injection. Parents must agree with the decision, but there are serious questions about the extent of the pressure on parents and/or their children. In anticipation of the law`s adoption, some Belgian parents, such as Professor Jutte van den Werff Ten Bosch, had already spoken to a child and expressed their support if the child ever requested euthanasia. Others asked, “What would make a child ask?” Members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe oppose Belgium`s decision to allow euthanasia of children. (30. January 2014) The written declaration states in part that “the vote in the Belgian Senate betrays some of Belgium`s most vulnerable children by accepting that their lives no longer have intrinsic value and that they should die”. The euthanasia commission, composed of 16 members – half doctors, half lawyers – meets monthly in Brussels. By law, after euthanasia, doctors must submit a report to the commission detailing what they did and why. The Commission reviews the reports to ensure that the conditions set out in the Act are met. Otherwise, Genicot says, at worst, a doctor could be charged with murder. In Belgium, the terminally ill are not the only ones who can request euthanasia.

Psychiatric patients. Now children. Is Belgium pushing the boundaries when it comes to euthanasia? Given the different developments between jurisdictions and even within Belgium, it is clear that social and cultural contexts play a key role in how the practice of euthanasia was adopted after legalization.

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