Friday, December 19, 2008

Luxembourg parliament backs euthanasia bill

Deputies in the Luxembourg parliament have approved the first reading of a bill to legalize euthanasia by a vote of 31 to 26. Last February the Luxembourg parliament approved the first reading of a different euthanasia bill that was significantly revised into the current bill.

Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg has stated that he opposed euthanasia and he would not sign the euthanasia bill into law based. The Luxembourg parliament has responded by planning to change the constitution, removing the power of the monarchy to veto legislation that has been approved by parliament.

If Luxembourg legalizes euthanasia, it will become the third European nation to legalize the intentional killing of dying people or otherwise vulnerable people in Luxembourg.

When examining the experience of euthanasia in the Netherlands it is clear that their continues to be a significant number of people who die by euthanasia, who neither requested it or indicated a wish to die. The last study in the Netherlands indicated that 550 people died by euthanasia in 2005 without request.

The vanderlee study in 2005 in the Netherlands found that people with cancer who were depressed were 44% more likely to die by euthanasia than people with cancer who were not depressed.

In Belgium the government has indicated that they recognize that there is a problem with under-reporting.

A recently published Ganzini study in the state of Oregon found that 26% of those who had requested assisted suicide and participated in the study were depressed and 17% of those who died by assisted suicide had been depressed.

Luxembourg should be looking to improve their end-of-life care while recognizing the innate dignity of every human person.

They should be promoting care options and not killing.

The bill will go to final reading sometime around March. If approved Luxembourg will become the third country to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide and make all of the Benelux countries places where vulnerable people can be killed by euthanasia.
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