What does the law say?
The main conditions for euthanasia are (source: Euthanasie STOP):
a) Euthanasia on conscious people
Euthanasia may be performed: When it comes to a patient in terminal stage
- The patient is an adult or emancipated minor, legally competent and conscious, so able to express his/her will;
- The request is voluntary, considered and repeated, and has not come about as a result of any external pressure; this must be documented;
- The medical situation is hopeless and causes a constant and unbearable physical or psychological suffering, which can not be alleviated, and it is due to a serious and incurable accidental or pathological disorder;
b) The euthanasia on unconscious persons
Euthanasia can take place only if:
- The person is an adult or emancipated minor;
- The patient is unconscious and this situation is irreversible according to the current state of the science;
- The patient was hit by a severe and incurable accidental or pathological disorder;
- The patient drew up and signed an advance directive to allow euthanasia; This statement is valid for 5 years and may designate one or more relatives, who will inform the attending physician of the will of the patient.
c) Enfants (source : legalwolrd.be)
Depuis 2014, les enfants (sans limite d’âge), « dotés de la capacité de discernement et conscients au moment de la demande », peuvent également demander l’euthanasie à condition de se trouver dans une situation médicale sans issue de souffrance physique constante et insupportable qui:
- ne peut être apaisée;
- entraîne le décès à brève échéance;
- résulte d’une affection accidentelle ou pathologique grave et incurable.
En toute hypothèse, la loi prévoit également une « clause de conscience », en précisant qu’aucun médecin n’est tenu de pratiquer une euthanasie et qu’aucune autre personne n’est tenue d’y participer (article 14 de la loi).
Why we oppose it?
- Because euthanasia is an abandonment of palliative care.
Unlike actions generally posed by the doctor, the aim of euthanasia is not to restore the good health, well-being of the patient, but to remove the person himself. It constitutes a definitive abandonment. Euthanasia does not save the dignity of the patient; it removes a person who often suffer from loneliness and feelings of being a burden..
- If there is a “right” to euthanasia for some, this implies a duty to euthanize for others.
Unlike suicide, euthanasia is not an act done on yourself. It implies that the medical profession does not only treats but also kills. This change in the very nature of the medical profession was not requested by doctors and induces in many patients and families a breach of trust concerning the medical profession.
- Because euthanasia is uncontrolled, and uncontrollable.
Then one only has been filed in court by the euthanasia Control Commission studies and testimonials demonstrate that euthanasia is not controlled. According to a study by the University of Ghent and VUB, 47.8% of deaths in 2013 in Flanders were “facilities” by medical intervention.
“In intensive care, the dead are programmed. The unexpected deaths are extremely rare, almost nobody dies at 4am.” Jean-Louis Vincent, Erasme Hospital, ICU, Professor at the ULB (Brussels University)
Even worse, one upon sixty deaths would be the result of euthanasia , never been requested by the patient, according to a report from the French observatory of the end of life.
- Because a “choice” made when suffering is not really a free choice.
Euthanasie is yet not necessary
Since 2014, year of decriminalization of euthanasia in children, let us rejoice that no euthanasia has occurred. This law then presented as urgent proved useless in reality. Can we grow up thinking that euthanasia in its emsemble is useless? Yes. Just because:
- 91% of reported euthanasia were made by patients whose death was expected shortly.
Euthanasie is widely disputed
June 13, 2012, more than 80 health professionals signed an opinion article in La Libre Belgique. It was particularly said:
Euthanasia degrades trust within families and between generations; it instills the mistrust towards the physicians; it undermines the most vulnerable people, as a result of various pressures, conscious or unconscious, so that the patient may feel morally obliged to express a request for euthanasia.
By decriminalizing euthanasia, Belgium has opened a Pandora’s box. Drifts envisaged ten years ago have now become a reality. The federal control commission itself emits doubts on its ability to fulfill its mission, the latter being related to compliance with the obligation to declare practiced euthanasia. Is it reasonable to imagine that a doctor denounces himself if he did not comply with the legal requirements?
When reading of the Commission’s reports, one notices that the conditions, which were believed stricter initially, are subject to very extended appreciations. And are backed cases of assisted suicide considered as euthanasia justifying psychological suffering which does not result from a serious and incurable disease, so that these two situations are excluded from the scope of the law. Considering further that the unbearable suffering is subjective in nature, the Commission hesitates to verify that this essential legal condition is fulfilled. Can we be surprised that the Commission has never transmitted back to the prosecutor in ten years? Can it be said, without ideological bias, that the law is respected and that the practice of euthanasia is under control?
Even more – the numerous proposals for easing or expanding the current law, especially for minors and the insane, did arise our deep concern. As expected, once the ban lifted, we walked rapidly towards a trivialization of the euthanasia act. It is clear that, paradoxically, the more a society refuses to see the death or to hear about it, the more it is inclined to cause it.
Ten years after the decriminalization of euthanasia in Belgium, the experience shows that a society which permits the right to euthanasia breaks the ties of solidarity, trust and genuine compassion that undermine the “living together”, and ultimately is destroying itself. This is the reason why we advocate for an objective and courageous assessment of the law, rather than easing its extension to new categories of cases.
Examples of cases of euthanasia…
- The Verbessem brothers, twin brothers born deaf and with glaucoma which according to the diagnoses would progressively blind both of them. They were both euthanized September 14, 2012. The fear of not seeing was described by their doctor “suffering unbearable psychic distress”.
- Nathan Verhelst was euthanized 30 September 2013 after a failed operation of sex change. Having developed an “aversion to his new body” and the reporting of his mental suffering, this all made that his euthanasia was authorized.
- An inmate in prison who was very ill, was euthanized in September 2012. Another detainee without serious illness, requested euthanasia because it is “more a man can bear”. The psychiatrists said he was suffering from a mentally unsustainable way.