Belgium: motions to change the law on euthanasia

Publié le : 21 June 2013

 In Belgium, after four months of debate in Parliament, and “in spite of the opposition of two parties of Christian inspiration that are members of the government coalition,” four senators, two socialists and two liberals, have submitted several motions designed to loosen the conditions for access to euthanasia.   

The first of these motions is intended to extend access to euthanasia to minors, without any age limit, as “the authors prefer to refer to ‘the mental competence’” of the minor. The second is intended to enable “the patients themselves to lay down the validity of their prior declaration for the request for euthanasia.” This request could be unlimited in time and changed at any moment. The third would oblige a doctor who refuses a request for euthanasia to inform the patient within seven days of the request. The doctor would then be “obliged to transfer the patient’s request to a colleague who is favourable to it.” Lastly, the fourth motion stipulates that the clause of conscientious objection “can be invoked by a doctor only in his/her personal capacity.” Thus, institutions such as hospitals and retirement homes would no longer be able to invoke the clause of conscientious objection.

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