Montero: Euthanasia in Belgium has expanded considerably

“When euthanasia was authorized twelve years ago in Belgium, it was presented as an ethical transgression, an exception reserved for extreme situations. Twelve years later, its scope has expanded considerably.” Montero.

                    Etienne Montero

                    Etienne Montero

Etienne Montero, Dean of the Faculty of Law of Namur was interviewed by Violante De Montclos for the French journal Le Point recently.

This is the translated text of the interview:

Montclos: For the first time, the law authorizing euthanasia in Belgium is being criticized. We talked with Etienne Montero about the case of Van Den Bleeken, of this "death penalty in reverse"...

Montero: The death of Frank Van Den Bleeken has not occurred, but after him, 15 other detainees have already made a request for lethal injection. It has been forgotten that in September 2012, a 48 year old psychiatric inmate was indeed euthanized ... Our country has been condemned 14 times by the European Court of Human Rights because we continue to hold such prisoners under conditions that do not correspond to their state of psychiatric patients judged responsible for their actions. This lack of care, being accepted as a reason for euthanasia, reveal how the barriers posed in 2002 have been jumped one after the other.

Montclos: Has the number of euthanasia deaths increased?

Montero: Exponentially, yes. In twelve years, it went from 199 to 1,454 deaths per year. And I speak here about the referrals (reports) from doctors to the Board of Control, as the authorities admit they have no way to assess the number of actually practiced euthanasia deaths, probably much more important. Furthermore, in November 2014, euthanasia was legally open to minors, regardless of their age ...

Montclos: How is the legality of lethal injections controlled?

Link to the full article.

Press Release from Euthanasia-Free New Zealand

A Press Release from Euthanasia-Free NZ

Friday 14 November 2014

Euthanasia-Free NZ oppose any move to legalise euthanasia or assisted suicide in New Zealand, because such laws will pose significant dangers. By “euthanasia” we are referring to the intentional killing of a person, usually by administering a lethal drug.

Nowhere in the world has legal assisted suicide and euthanasia been contained and regulated effectively. Safeguards have been ignored and flouted. For example, a primary requirement by the Belgian law is a voluntary written request. Nevertheless, according to a 2010 study, 32% of reported euthanasia cases in Flanders, Belgium, occurred without any explicit request.

Link to the full Press Release.

An Open Letter to Canadians on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide


Dear fellow Canadians,

On Wednesday October 15th the Supreme Court of Canada will hear the appeal in the Carter case. It will decide whether the Criminal Code’s prohibition of assisted suicide is constitutional. If the prohibition is struck down, doctors will be involved in assisted suicide and euthanasia. As physicians, we have followed with a growing sense of dismay the public debate over whether to introduce into medical practice the act of inflicting death. We write to you today to give a medical perspective on this crucial debate.

It is a long standing commitment of the medical profession ‘To cure sometimes, to relieve suffering often, and to comfort always.’ It is a breach of that commitment to inflict death. The World Medical Association [1] and the near-totality of national medical associations agree that intentionally ending patients’ lives is not an ethically acceptable part of the physician’s role. This opinion is shared by the World Palliative Care Alliance [2] and the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians [3] in their assertion that Euthanasia and physician assisted suicide are not now, and have never been, part of palliative care practice.

Link to the full letter

Belgium Euthanasia and Capital Punishment

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Frank van den Bleeken

Frank van den Bleeken

Last January, Frank van den Bleeken, who was convicted of rape and murder in Belgium, requested death by lethal injection (euthanasia) for reasons of psychological suffering.

On Saturday, a Belgian news agency reported that van den Bleeken euthanasia request was recently approved, a story that also opened a media controversy concerning privacy rights. van den Bleeken is the first Belgian prisoner, who is not terminally ill, to die by euthanasia. The Belgian news article also reported that another Belgian prisoner who has currently served 27 years for murdering 2 people, has also asked to die by lethal injection (euthanasia).

Read More:

Belgian Euthanasia Control and Evaluation Commission broadens euthanasia law

The European Institute of Bioethics reported on the latest data release on the incidence of euthanasia in Belgium. (Google translated from French)

Belgian Euthanasia Increases by 89% in four years.

The Act of 28 May 2002 concerning euthanasia stipulates that the Federal Committee on Oversight and Enforcement, shall biennially report to the legislature. Here is the sixth report, covering the years 2012-2013.

The report comprises firstly a statistical element, which we note here that the number of reported euthanasia has almost doubled in four years (an increase of 89%), from 953 reported in 2010 to 1,807 in 2013 euthanasia. The Commission considers that this increase is due to the "gradual release of information to the public and physicians." The deaths caused today represent 1.7% of all deaths in Belgium.

Read More: