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In The News
   
 
 

 

In The News
 

 
March 25 - Belgium Proposes ‘Death on Demand’ Euthanasia Law 

Article: Perilous Times

A law that would allow ‘death on demand’ is to be put before legislators in Belgium. Already the country with the world’s most permissive euthanasia policy, it is now to consider the introduction of a law which would stop doctors from denying euthanasia requests from patients. The law was proposed by the country’s opposition socialist party and is expected to receive support from the majority of parliamentarians.
 
If passed, requests for assisted suicide would also have to be considered as urgent, so doctors would not be allowed to ask patients to wait in case they changed their minds. Such proposals have raised serious concerns about the eventual shift to euthanasia ‘on demand’ and the implications this would have on vulnerable patients. 
 

Since Belgium legalised euthanasia in 2002, there has been a seven fold increase in deaths by euthanasia between 2003 and 2013. Euthanasia and assisted suicide now account for 6.3% of all deaths in Belgium. Patients in Belgium can already request to end their lives for non-terminal conditions, with an increasing number of requests for conditions such as depression and loneliness. On one occasion a woman was even granted permission to die after a romantic split.
 
Under the proposed new law, the policy would be even more liberal. If implemented, a doctor would have to grant a patient’s request for assisted suicide within seven days, or pass the patient to another doctor who would approve it instead. 

 

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