ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM NEWS RELEASE
3 September 2014 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Strasbourg, France – Alliance Defending Freedom filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights Wednesday on behalf of Tom Mortier, who is challenging Belgium’s laws that allow euthanasia. Mortier’s mother was put to death by a doctor for “untreatable depression” even though she was not terminally ill. Mortier did not find out what had happened until he received a telephone call the day after her death.
“The government has an obligation to protect life, not assist in promoting death,” said ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Robert Clarke. “A person can claim that she should be able to do whatever she pleases, but that does not override the government’s responsibility to protect the weak and vulnerable. We are encouraging the European Court to uphold this principle, which is completely consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights.”
|Godelieva De Troyer|
No one contacted Mortier before his mother’s death despite the fact that he says her depression was not only largely the result of a break-up with a man, but also due to her feelings of distance from her family.
Distelmans has no psychiatric qualifications, and none of the doctors involved had any enduring doctor-patient relationship with De Troyer. In addition, the commission the government established to investigate any failure to observe the euthanasia law has been led, since its creation, by Distelmans. Despite evidence of widespread abuse of the law, the commission has never referred a case to the prosecutor.
As the ADF application explains, “The institutions of the Council of Europe have shown consistent opposition to the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia…. [T]he only positive duty on a State is the positive duty to protect life.”
The application argues that Belgium’s law, which now allows children to be killed as well, has gone too far:
“the balance has shifted unacceptably in favour of personal autonomy at the expense of the important public interest and a State’s obligation under Article 2 (the right to life).”
“People suffering from depression need compassion and love, not a prescription for death,” said ADF Senior Counsel Roger Kiska. “The state has a duty to put the necessary safeguards in place so that suffering patients receive adequate care from doctors and an opportunity to consult with family members.”ADF is also involved at the ECHR in defending Switzerland’s denial of suicide drugs to a woman who does not suffer from any fatal disease. That case, Gross v. Switzerland, is very similar to a previous case, Haas v. Switzerland, in which the ECHR in 2011 unanimously rejected the claim that Switzerland had an obligation to assist individuals in committing suicide.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organisation that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith. # # # | Ref. 44739
Links to more information:
- Belgium euthanasia deaths increase by 26.8% in 2013.
- Lifting the veil on euthanasia in Belgium: a nurses story.
- A second complaint against Belgian euthanasia doctor.
- Belgium extends euthanasia to children.
- Official complaint against Belgian euthanasia doctor.
- Depressed Belgian woman dies by euthanasia.
- There is no smear campaign against the Belgian euthanasia law. Its just that the truth hurts.