Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg - Hero

Grand Duke Henri
By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg is a Hero. Very few world leaders have had the fortitude and personal strength to stand up for justice and oppose euthanasia. Even though the Grand Duke could not stop the legalisation of euthanasia in his nation, he did take a courageous stand by forcing the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies to change the constitution before it could enact into law the direct and intentional killing of its most vulnerable citizens by euthanasia.

In his December statement to the people of Luxembourg the Grand Duke said:
Nevertheless, in an issue dealing with life’s end, I made use of my right to freedom of conscience. To answer a fundamental question “en âme et conscience" basically means passing judgement on oneself. In this I sought only to stay true to myself.

The response that this brings is in no way a judgement on citizens who harbour a different opinion, on people who have other feelings or on those who have had other life experiences.

Above all I deeply sympathise with those who are facing the end of their lives and who are undergoing great suffering.

Nobody can accept this, especially since the means for avoiding it are indeed available.
For those who wish to congratulate Grand Duke Henri please write or email to the following contact address:
Maréchalat de la Cour - Palais grand-ducal
17, rue du Marché-aux-herbes, L-1728 Luxembourg
Adresse postale : B.P. 331 L-2013 Luxembourg
Service Communication :

You can link the the website for the Luxembourg Royal Family at:

To complain to Jean-Claude Juncker, the Luxembourg Minister of State
Adresse: 4, rue de la Congrégation, L - 1352 Luxembourg Europe
Adresse électronique:

On March 13, 2009, the tiny european nation of Luxembourg amended section 34 of its Constitution to remove the historical power of the monarch. According to the Luxembourg constitution, the Grand Duke was required to sign a bill before it became law.

On 2 December 2008 Grand Duke Henri announced that he would refuse to sign into law the act on euthanasia that had been voted on earlier in the year by the Chamber of Deputies. The vote to legalise euthanasia in Luxembourg passed by a (30 to 26) margin. After the final vote the signature of the Grand Duke would have been necessary to approve and enact the law. The Minister of State Jean-Claude Juncker decided to amend the Constitution, whereby the signature of the Monarch would no longer be necessary for a law to take effect. The Luxembourg royal house has tried to block a decision by parliament only once before, when the Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide refused to sign an education bill in 1912. (With information from Wikipedia)

Link to the Wikipedia article:,_Grand_Duke_of_Luxembourg
On March 17, 2009 the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies declared that the Euthanasia law had now passed making Luxembourg the third european nation to legalize euthanasia.

It is a very sad day for Luxembourg. The nation of Luxembourg has now approved the direct and intentional killing of its citizens at the most vulnerable time of their life. Whatever good intentions that may be related to the elimination of suffering, cannot justify the removal of the basic protection of a citizen to be free from lethal coercion, and the protection of life.

After many years of euthanasia in the Netherlands, it has now become very apparent that the euthanasia experiment is a failure. Children born with disabilities can be killed if the doctors and the family follow the Groningen Protocol. People with chronic depression can be killed and in the last government report in 2005 it stated that 550 people were killed by euthanasia without consent.

Now Luxembourg is following the path of the Netherlands. I lament the decision and I hope that other national leaders will have the fortitude, like the Grand Duke, to oppose the direct and intentional killing by euthanasia of their vulnerable citizens.

Link to the Luxembourg constitution:


Anonymous said...

If the Grand Duke has in fact signed the law into effect then I am not convinced that he has been particularly heroic. "Promulgating" the euthanasia law (whether or not he approves of it) is precisely the mechanism by which the law is brought into force: the cooperation in the evil is thus direct and formal regardless of whether he "sanctioned" the law. Tragically, therefore, it would seem Grand Duke Henri lost his powers for little benefit.

Interestingly the wikipedia article mentions that he was a fervent supporter of the European Constitution in 2005. This Constitution (and its successor, the Lisbon Treaty) is being campaigned against by pro-lifers precisely because of its pro-euthanasia and pro-abortion content so it looks like his battle has not been very consistent either. I shall not yet be writing any congratulatory emails to the palace.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Dear Anonymous:

You didn't get the point.

The Grand Duke Henri did not sign the bill into law and therefore his legislative power was constitutionally removed.

He did not sign the bill into law.

Anonymous said...

I have not seen the revised Article 34 of the Luxembourg Constitution and the link you helpfully provides has only the old version. The Juncker proposal in December was to amend the phrase "sanctions and promulgates" in Article 34 to read only "promulgates". The idea being that the Grand Duke's promulgation - by signature - of a law would now be a formality which would no longer express his approval of the promulgated law.

This was the proposal but the proposal certainly involved a signature. If instead the revised Article 34 requires no action on the part of the the Luxembourg Head of State to bring a law into effect this would make Luxembourg pretty much unique in her constitutional arrangements.

Alex Schadenberg said...

I also have not seen the revised Article 34 of the constitution, nonetheless, the former purpose for his signature was to sign an act into law. The current purpose is merely a formality, if it is done at all, and without actual purpose.

In Canada the Governor General is the Queens representative. The GG still technically retains the power to refuse to sign a bill into law, but it simply is not done.

If the GG were to decide not to sign a bill, the constitutional crisis would force the Prime Minister to demand the resignation of the GG.