Monday, December 2, 2013

Belgium appears that it will extend euthanasia to children. Quebec may do so shortly after the adoption of Bill 52.

Vivre dans la Dignité - November 27, 2013

The original statement was published by Vivre dans la Dignité in French.

Bill 52 is undergoing a detailed review by a parliamentary committee. If this bill which is closely modelled on the Belgian legislation is passed, doctors will be in the untenable position of having to carry out euthanasia upon request. The criteria for "medical aid in dying" (euthanasia) is so broad, that a patient suffering from a serious and incurable disease, unable to bear his suffering, may die by euthanasia.

The government wants to convince us that "medical aid in dying" will be reserved for a very small number of exceptional cases, and that the children will never be included. However, some groups - including the College of Physicians of Quebec who stated to the parliamentary committee that the law should apply equally to children and incompetent adults. In this context, we can not afford to ignore the experience of the last 10 years in Belgium. Euthanasia became legal in 2002 in Belgium for "exceptional cases, under strict conditions." However, a Senate committee has currently adopted by a large majority, a proposal to extend euthanasia to minors. According to experts, it is likely that this proposal will be adopted in plenary. 

It took 11 years for the Belgian euthanasia law to allow the killing of children by euthanasia. A Belgian survey estimates that only a dozen children will be euthanized each year. In 2002, the promoters of this deadly practice also claimed that there would be very few cases of euthanasia. In fact, the number of euthanasia deaths went from 235 cases in 2003 to 1,432 in 2012. The number of euthanasia deaths has doubled every four years. It is expected that it will be the same for children in Belgium. 

It is illusory to think that things would be different in Quebec. Do not play the ostrich. Do not ignore what is happening in jurisdictoins where euthanasia is legal. Reject any legislation that would allow doctors to kill their patients.

Sources: Citizen Network Living with Dignity and Physicians Alliance for the Total Refusal of euthanasia. 

Follow us on Twitter at @vivredignite and @ collectifmed.  
For further information or to arrange an interview. 

Contact: Nicolas Steenhout 
Director Living with Dignity 

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