American psychiatrists speak out against the Belgian law on euthanasia

Publié le 13 Jan, 2017

The American Association of Psychiatry (AAP) wants to take action against euthanasia laws in Belgium, the Netherlands and “anywhere else where psychiatric patients who are not terminally ill are helped to commit suicide or who are, quite literally, killed by lethal injection, often administered by their own treating psychiatrists”.

 

As far as the AAP is concerned, it is “immoral” for a psychiatrist to assist with “suicide”. In an official announcement, the Association announced that, “A psychiatrist cannot prescribe or implement a procedure resulting in the death of patients who are not terminally ill”. For the association, “the availability of resources” and “administration of a lethal injection” are “inadmissible”.

 

Geert Dom, President of the Belgian Professional Union of Psychiatric Specialists and Member of the European Psychiatry Association (EPA), explains that “the foreign view of our highly progressive, international laws on euthanasia” should not be underestimated”. He consequently advised that the AAP declaration should be taken seriously, especially in view of the influence of this association: “The American professional association publishes the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders, NDLR), our diagnostic bible. This position can therefore certainly liven up the debate, hopefully without causing panic”.

 

Belgian Health Minister, Maggie De Block, confirmed that, “Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Parliament has led an underlying debate on legislation governing euthanasia (see Belgium: “Legislative frenzy on end of life”). And our law is the final result. I don’t see what the Americans hope to achieve with this debate”.

Le Vif (Simon Demeulemeester) 20/12/2016

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