Schadenberg interviewed by the Voice of Russia concerning Belgium's child euthanasia law.
The Voice of Russia interviewed Alex Schadenberg on Friday February 14, 2014 concerning the Belgian bill to extend euthanasia to children. Schadenberg is the International Chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.
Schadenberg debating euthanasia in Belgium - November 2013.
What is your stance on euthanasia in general?
We are opposed to it for the very simple reason, because it allows somebody else to cause someone’s death. That is the situation where in law they give usually a physician the right to cause your death. These things are often abused, but on top of it, once you give someone else that power over life and death, you create a situation where things can happen the way we never wanted and deaths occur. We cannot properly control it.
In the case of Belgium, I’m very concerned because, in fact, you’ve had massive abuse of this Belgian law to start with. What the Belgian Government should be doing is they should re-evaluate their euthanasia law and try to control it, if they want to keep it, but I don’t think they should keep it, rather than expanding it now to children. Recent studies have shown that almost one third of all the euthanasia deaths are done without request. So, with that level of abuse within the system they shouldn’t be expanding the law, they should be reevaluating what they are actually doing.
The other thing they are debating in Belgium is euthanasia for people with dementia. And they are saying – well, we have all these people with dementia, if they had wanted euthanasia, maybe we should now do it to them, even though they can’t consent. So, the whole concept of consent is messed up. The fact is that you have a culture that’s become addicted to eliminating certain lives or encouraging them to say “no” to their lives.
Some of what you’ve described almost sounds like eugenics-related program.
Part of it is eugenic. There is a truth to that. Whether we like to say it or not, it does relate to that. The fact is that they talk about rating the suffering, but when you look at the definitions within it, you realize suffering is only the beginning. The question of suffering can only be assessed from a personal point of view.
Also there is this massive underreporting problem. Two weeks ago Dr. Cosyns, a major euthanasia doctor in Belgium said – I do not report my euthanasia deaths, even though the law requires it. So, how do you in the end know what is going on? Once you legalize euthanasia, the question of murder changes. There haven’t been any attempted prosecutions in Belgium. The Netherlands law is also equally bad, but at least they’ve attempted a few prosecutions when the law was broken. And in Belgium there have been no attempted prosecutions because the system has been designed to protect the doctors and not the patients.
If you go to my blog at alexschadenberg.blogspot.com, you will find several articles on these topics and the articles always allow you to link to the studies, which are quite clear – there is a serious problem with the Belgium euthanasia law.
Under the bill a child could ask for euthanasia only in case he suffers unbearable pain? How is it possible to measure this pain?
First of all, you can’t measure unbearable pain. But on top of it, just last week a letter came from 160 Belgian paediatricians saying – there is no reason why any of our patients would ever experience unbearable pain. So, the purpose of the law is to eliminate suffering and you have the Belgian pediatricians coming back and saying – we don’t need this, our patients do not suffer unbearable pain, we can deal with pain.
Every day we are reading that there are new cures for different diseases that we thought will never be possible to cure. Taking the life of child means that he’ll never have the opportunity to receive those cures.
That’s exactly correct. I will go further, we recognize that there are some very difficult circumstances, but we have the ability to care for these people without killing them.
Learn more about the practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide in Belgium and the Netherlands by ordering the book Exposing Vulnerable People to Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. Exposing Vulnerable People examines the data from recent studies and publishes the facts that the media is not willing to publish and that the other side ignores.