Thursday, June 20, 2013

Belgium is moving closer to allowing euthanasia of children.

An article published in on June 20, 2013 is reporting that Belgian lawmakers are moving closer to legalising the euthanasia of minors, so long as they are judged capable of deciding for themselves.

The Quebec government has recently introduced a bill to legalize euthanasia based on the Belgian euthanasia law.
Four senators from parties in the governing coalition formally put forward changes to a 2002 law that made Belgium the second country in the world after The Netherlands to legalise mercy killing in certain cases. 
Their parties said they would back the changes and parliament is likely to approve them in coming months. 
Euthanasia is currently legal only for those aged 18 but experts have told parliament that in practice euthanasia on children was already taking place, without any set guidelines. 
Changes to the law were submitted for debate in parliament in December and legislators have been discussing them there since February. 
Discussions have centred on the minimum age should the law be changed, and senators on Thursday settled on a young person's "capacity to discern", which would be assessed by a psychiatrist. ... 
A separate issue of whether to extend the law to those suffering from a mental deficiency remains unresolved. 
Belgium recorded a record 1,432 cases of euthanasia in 2012, up 25 percent from the previous year. They represented two percent of all deaths.
Considering the fact that the Belgian euthanasia law is already being abused, one would think that Belgium would not be expanding their euthanasia law but rather attempting to control their euthanasia law.
For instance, recent studies concerning the Belgian euthanasia law found that: 32% of the assisted deaths are done without request and 47% of the assisted deaths go unreported in the Flanders region of Belgium. Another recent study found that even though nurses are prohibited by law from doing euthanasia, that in fact nurses are euthanizing their patients in Belgium. There has never been an attempted prosecution for abuses of the Belgian euthanasia law.
The book, Exposing Vulnerable People to Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide uncovers data proving that unreported euthanasia deaths and the abuse of the euthanasia laws in jurisdictions, such as Belgium and the Netherlands, where it is legal, uncovers euthanasia deaths without request not only occur but represent a threat to vulnerable patient groups.  

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