Doctors Refuse to Serve on Belgium’s Euthanasia Commission

by Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education on October 26, 2015

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In 2002, the government of Belgium formed the Federal Evaluation and Control Commission for Euthanasia. Last week, they announced that seven of the seats are vacant—citing particular trouble finding doctors who would serve.

There are two reasons for this: One, many doctors remain uncomfortable with wielding the power of medicine to kill their patients. Second, in Belgium, some have refused to join the committee due to the high caseload of euthanasia cases. Some reports have noted that the number of euthanasia cases have increased by 90% in just three years.

This little predicament in Belgium should serve as a warning sign to the rest of the world on two fronts: across the board—not just in Belgium—doctors don’t want to endorse this practice. Secondly, once it is introduced, the floodgates are opened wide and it’s hard to draw a line. Let’s not forget that it was in Belgium where two twins were recently euthanized because they were deaf.

For years now Belgium has been an example to the rest of the world when euthanasia is legalized and normalized. Sadly, they have rarely taken the occasion to reflect on what is has wrought upon their country and the world. This latest situation is just another symptom of a practice that is corrupted for all involved.

Image by Truthout via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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