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Pages tagged "Netherlands"
Concern over Belgium legalising euthanasia for children
· February 19, 2014 11:00 AM
Belgium last week became the first country to allow euthanasia for children.
Euthanasia has been legal for adults since 2002, but the new law allows children of any age to request euthanasia if they are incurably sick, are conscious, have their parents’ consent, and have a “capacity of discernment”.
Belgium is one of three European countries that allows euthanasia, along with Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The Dutch law allows euthanasia for children 12 years and older, but the Belgian law goes further by removing the age restriction.
The law has created controversy worldwide and is even
drawing comparisons to Nazi Germany’s euthanasia programme for disabled children
A letter signed by 160 Belgian paediatricians opposed the introduction of the law.
A 2007 survey, published in the
Journal of Medical Ethics
in January this year, found that there was no explicit patient request in 79.7 per cent of euthanasia cases. About 1000 people die from euthanasia each year in Belgium.
In December 2012, Belgian twins Marc and Eddy Verbessem were killed despite not having a terminal illness. The twins, who were deaf and going blind, said they had “nothing to live for”, and so were granted their request for euthanasia.
Bioethicist and Palliative Care Specialist Dr Megan Best was interviewed on the Political Spot this week by the ACL’s Katherine Spackman about the law. Listen to her interview
MR: Belgian euthanasia deaths a warning to Tasmanian legislators
· January 15, 2013 11:00 AM
For release: Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
The sad case of the death of the Belgian Verbassem twins should sound warning bells to Tasmanian legislators likely to be debating euthanasia again this year, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
The deaf twins chose to be killed by legal euthanasia after learning that they were going blind, saying they’d have “nothing to live for” should they be kept alive.
ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said their unfortunate deaths highlight the “slippery slope” experienced by the handful of countries that have legislated state-sanctioned killing.
“Where do you draw the line when what is termed “unbearable pain” is so arbitrary? Taking two years for the twins to find a doctor willing to perform euthanasia points to the fact that there were plenty of medical practitioners uncomfortable with the idea,” Mr Brown said.
Current Belgian law allows euthanasia if a patient is able to make their wishes clear and a doctor deems their condition unbearable. The Belgian government is now looking at amending legislation to also allow euthanasia of children and Alzheimer’s suffers.
“We see the same problem in the Netherlands where in a survey of 800 doctors, 20% agreed they would be willing to euthanize a patient who was “tired of living”.
“We urge the Tasmanian Government to focus its efforts toward improving palliative care not legalising euthanasia, which has been rejected time and again by fully constituted parliaments and parliamentary inquires around Australia,” Mr Brown said.
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