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Published On: Mon, Mar 9th, 2020

Belgian law will increase euthansia, targeting Catholic to force doctors, health workers ‘to kill’ their patients

The lower Chamber of the Belgian federal Parliament has approved several measures in favor of increased access to euthanasia, which has been legal in the country since 2002.

On Thursday, a large majority of Chamber members, 97-3 with 35 abstentions, moving to scale down the right of conscientious objection for doctors and other health professionals who are unwilling to kill their patients.

By an amendment presented by the Belgian Socialist Party and Open-VLD, adopted by the Chamber, conscientious objection will also be refused to hospitals and other medical facilities as such, obliging even Catholic hospitals to allow euthanasia to take place within their walls.

The new law also gives unlimited validity to advance directives or “living wills” asking for euthanasia to be applied under certain circumstances in case of mental incapacity.

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photo/ Arek Socha

Amendments creating a right for patients to include a five-year clause in their advance directives were rejected, showing that the liberty and autonomy the euthanasia law purports to uphold are not as absolute as they are made out to be.

The European Institute for Bioethics (EIB), based in Brussels, commented: “The risk – which the initial law of 2002 was precisely seeking to avoid – is now that advance directives dating back several decades, whose very existence has been forgotten by the patient, will be somehow implemented when that person is no longer capable of expressing his or her will.”

According to statistics collected in 2018, the existing advance directives of 30,000 Belgians now alive have expired. In 2019, 7.156 Belgians who had made advance directives five years previously did not trouble to renew them.

“This means doctors will not be able to meet their wishes if they land in an irreversible coma. Our law will put an end to that situation,” argued Creemers. She did not take into consideration the fact that an unknown proportion of these citizens perhaps didn’t actually want to renew their directives.

Early in January, three doctors were cleared in Belgian facing charges on the euthanasia of a woman with severe psychiatric problems and had tried to take her life when she was younger. The woman’s sisters argued that she was not incurably ill, as Belgian law requires, but suffering from the stress of a broken relationship.

She had not had psychiatric treatment for 15 years and had been given a diagnosis of autism before her death for which she had not yet been treated, they said. All three medical professionals were cleared, full story here.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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