Euthanasia in Belgium: A subtle but real form of coercion

This article was published on the Vivre dans la Dignitè (Living with Dignity) website.

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A recent visit to a nursing home in Belgium reveals that residents are bombarded with the idea that euthanasia is a good choice. It was the "fortnight on 'end of life'". An admittedly important subject, but which must be discussed in a balanced way. Here, at the opening of the event, a video was presented, biased in favour of euthanasia. The rest of the program isn't objective either.

Under the pretense of informing residents, they plant the idea that euthanasia is a good solution. But nowhere is a balanced view presented in the program: they do not speak of options for life; they only speak of the choice of death.

We were told that most residents feel quite lonely. They no longer have friends. Their family does not come to visit them, or rarely. Even friendships formed at the rest home go out when friendslose their mobility or die. The sense of isolation is very strong for a majority of the residents of such nursing homes.

The schedule of this "fortnight on end of life" is displayed at the entrance of the residence, and also in the elevator and on each floor. This is part of the social activities of the residence. Not having very much to do, residents attend almost all of these social activities. The term "captive audience" comes to mind.

It is a form of subtle and very effective coercion. Nobody forces the individual to make that "choice." It's not like they twisted their arm, or that they held a gun to their head. No, nothing as obvious.

Yet, requests for euthanasia follow one another.

Link to the full article