Belgium considers legalising euthanasia
- By: Tony Sheldon
Proposals to remove euthanasia from Belgium's criminal law have angered doctors, who claim they have not been properly consulted.
The proposals, which also include an obligation to provide palliative care and the establishment of a national evaluation committee, have been agreed by the governing coalition party senators, which include socialists, greens, and right wing liberals. They are due to go before the Senate in the next few weeks.
Belgium's politicians have debated euthanasia since 1996, but an expert bioethics advisory committee has been divided on the need for changes to the law.
The current proposal is the initiative of an alliance of senators who feel that “the time is ripe” for change and that the upper house of the parliament is the most suitable place for careful consideration. They claim that while voluntary euthanasia remains murder under the law, it has become “almost a daily practice in our country.”