Belgian Euthanasia & Assisted-Suicide Practices are Beyond Alarming (2015)

Even euthanasia supporters are calling developments in Belgium “worrisome” as a result of two, newly revealed cases that have been given formal approval for medically-induced death. Others see these cases as the tragic result of an ethical “slippery slope” that appears unstoppable in a country that has embraced euthanasia and assisted suicide as acceptable—even expected—ways to die. The Australian TV news show Dateline followed two Belgians who had been approved by doctors for euthanasia. Simona de Moor, an 85-year-old, physically healthy, mentally sharp woman, decided five minutes after her daughter unexpectedly died from a heart attack that she wanted to have her life ended by a doctor. “The moment they broke the news to me, five minutes later I knew,” de Moor told Dateline reporter Brett Mason. “And nobody in the world will take it away from me.” “It’s driving me mad,” she explained, “and I don’t want to go to a mad house, I want to die here [in my home].” De Moor and her 58-year-old daughter Vivienne had been very close after the death of de Moor’s husband several years ago. After Vivienne died, de Moor said, “I have no reason to live anymore, grief is unbearable pain.” According to Belgium’s euthanasia law, a person must be experiencing “unbearable” physical or mental suffering to qualify, but there is no consensus as to what constitutes “unbearable” suffering. Mason was allowed to film the final minutes of de Moor’s life. “Are you really ready?” asked Dr. Marc Van Hoey, who is a vocal euthanasia advocate. “Absolutely, 100 percent,” de Moor replied. He then handed her a lethal drug cocktail...

Dutch and Belgian Induced-Death Practices Are Out of Control

Euthanasia laws in the Netherlands and Belgium took effect in 2002. What has occurred since that time is alarming to many inside and outside those countries. The Netherlands: A judge in Utrecht ordered the euthanasia death of an 80-year-old woman with dementia despite her doctors’ objections that she was not capable of consenting to a lethal injection. It was her family who said she wanted to die. The judge reprimanded the doctors for not respecting the woman’s wishes. She was euthanized the next day. [Daily Mail, 5/18/15] The Dutch law states that only physicians can legally engage in euthanasia and assisted suicide. Yet a Dutch appeals court in Arnhem disregarded the law and cleared all criminal charges against Albert Heringa for assisting his mother’s suicide in 2008. The court said he had an “unwritten moral duty” to help his mother die. [AP, 5/13/15; Jurist, 5/14/15] In June, the Dutch Pediatric Association (NVK) called for expanding the law to allow euthanasia for children under 12-years-old if their suffering is unbearable and hopeless and they understand what a euthanasia request means. If they don’t understand, then it should be up to the doctor and the child’s parents to decide if the child lives or dies. [dutchnews.nl, 6/19/15, 7/3/15](Continued, see “Belgium” on below.) ………………….. News briefs from home & abroad . . . Belgium: As is the case in the Netherlands, Belgium’s euthanasia and assisted-suicide practices are out of control. A recent study, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, found that Belgian doctors are ending the lives of thousands of patients each year without those patients’ consent—in spite of the fact...