End of life (Belgium) > Euthanasia and assisted suicide
- BREAKING NEWS - The Belgian Constitutional Court rejects the appeal relating to the 2020 law on euthanasia
In a judgment published on Thursday February 17, 2022, the Constitutional Court of Belgium rejects the action for annulment of the law of 15 March 2020 amending the legislation on euthanasia.
Of the three amendments introduced by the law, the Court considers that two of them are not contrary to the Constitution. As regards the third provision, relating to the infringement of the freedom of healthcare institutions which do not practise euthanasia, the Court refuses to examine the appeal, declaring it inadmissible.
As a reminder, the law passed in 2020 first provides that 'no written or unwritten clause can prevent a doctor from performing euthanasia'. This provision aims to de facto prohibit retirement homes or hospitals whose care project excludes the fact of ending the life of their residents or patients by euthanasia, and which favor accompaniment through palliative care. The applicant citizens, as well as the European Institute of Bioethics, the intervener in the a...
A recent study has brought to light the practice of deliberate euthanasia to new-borns for whom the medical team considered that there was "no hope of a bearable future". These practices concerned 10% of the neonates (0-1 year) who died in Flanders, between September 2016 and December 2017 (i. e., 24 babies).
This practice is illegal in Belgium, yet no authority seems to take offense. The law only allows the euthanasia of a minor if he or she is capable of discernment and conscious at the time of the request for euthanasia.
In her thesis, which served as the basis for the study in question, Laure Dombrecht, researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), refers to a similar study conducted in 1999-2000. The proportion of euthanasia to new-borns by injection of lethal substances has increased from 7 to 10% since this previous survey.
Among what is considered as "end-of-life medical decisions" involving 61% of these babies, the study distinguishes between decisions not to sta...
The European Institute of Bioethics (EIB) has published a report (available in French and Dutch) on the 2020 Belgian euthanasia report indicating that the number of reported assisted deaths increased by 12.6% in 2019 to 2656. The 2019 Belgian euthanasia report, indicated that there were 2357 reported assisted deaths in 2018. There were 954 reported assisted deaths in 2010 representing a 267% increase in 9 years.
The Belgian euthanasia commission admits that it "does not have the possibility of evaluating the proportion of the number of euthanasia's declared in relation to the number of euthanasia's actually carried out."
A NEJM study examining 2013 Belgian deaths and euthanasia commission data concluded that almost half of the euthanasia deaths in 2013 were not reported to the commission.
The same NEJM study also concluded that more than 1000 deaths (1.7%) were hastened without explicit request in 2013.
The 2020 Belgium euthanasia data states that 57 people died by e...