Belgium: a “motion against making assisted death commonplace”

Publié le : 12 March 2013

 While the Belgian Senate is debating the extension of the law on euthanasia to minors and people suffering from dementia (Gènéthique press review from 18th to 22nd of February 2013), the Société Médicale belge de Saint Luc has submitted to it a "motion against making assisted death commonplace." Dr Paul Deschepper, honorary president of the Société Médicale belge de Saint Luc, "denounces the ‘loose interpretation’ of the current law on euthanasia, whereby no case has been found not to comply with the requirements of the law."

Through this "motion against making assisted death commonplace," the Société Médicale belge de Saint Luc "wishes to express its point of view concerning [these] discussions in the Senate on the extension of the law on euthanasia". It states: "the prediction that the law on euthanasia of May 2002 […] would lead to a slippery slope when the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ is put aside has been confirmed: public opinion and political leaders now want an extension of the law on euthanasia […]" and "the media are collaborating actively." The Society asks: "Are we going to slide towards situations in which a teenager with a type I diabetes finds at a certain moment that his/her quality of life has become insufficient and can request euthanasia? We cannot conceive that self-determination can evolve to become an extreme determinism of the person!" It adds: "the notion of the quality of life is an extremely subjective notion.".          
Lastly, it points out that "the fact that in Holland (with 16 million inhabitants) no case of euthanasia involving children has been reported in the past two years proves that this law is futile." The Société Médicale belge de Saint concludes: "laws do not need to be promulgated for rare exceptions!"

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