Increase in the number of declarations of euthanasia in Belgium

Publié le : 12 February 2013

 In Belgium, according to the commission in charge of monitoring the practice of euthanasia in this country, 1,432 declarations of euthanasia were recorded in 2012, "a rise of 25% compared to the 1,133 cases recorded in 2011." Of the 1,432 cases, 81% were Flemish in origin, accounting for 1,156 cases, and 19% were French-speaking, accounting for 276 cases.  

The legalisation of euthanasia in Belgium dates back to 2002 and applies to "people with an incurable disease and unappeasable suffering, on condition that they are aged over 18 years and mentally competent all their mental faculties." However, this framework may change. From 20 February on, the Senate will be examining various questions, beginning with the proposal to extend access to euthanasia to minors, and in this context it will be seeking the opinion of forty specialists, many of them doctors. Several proposals intended to change the law will be discussed, including one aimed at "placing the bar at 15 years for a minor ‘capable of judgment" and another one abolishing any "age limit in order to allow access to euthanasia for any minor ‘considered capable of rational judgement’." The debates will also cover "the possibility of extending the law to include people affected by degenerative mental diseases" such as Alzheimer’s, and "improving and regarding the ‘anticipated declaration’ procedure.

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