Euthanasia Policy and practice in Belgium


Thematic : End of life / Euthanasia and assisted suicide

Studies - Belgium

Published on : 06/06/2009

Author / Source : Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Critical Observations and Suggestions for Improvement  


ABSTRACT: The essay opens with some background information about the context of euthanasia in Belgium. It proceeds by discussing the Belgian law on euthanasia and concerns about the law, its interpretations and implementation. Finally, the major developments and controversies since the law came into effect are discussed. Suggestions as to how to improve the Belgian law and circumscribe the practice of euthanasia are made, urging Belgian legislators and the medical establishment to refl ect and study so as to prevent potential abuse of vulnerable patients.

This article investigates and discusses the practice of euthanasia in Belgium. Its methodology is based on critical review of the literature supplemented by interviews I conducted in Belgium with leading scholars and practitioners in February 2003 and February 2005. The interviews were conducted in English, usually in the interviewees' offi ces. The interviews were semi-structured. I began with a list of twenty-four questions (see Appendix), but did not insist on answers to all of them if I saw that the interviewee preferred to speak about subjects that were not included in the original questionnaire. The length of interviews varied from one to two and a half hours.

Similar articles

Belgium : a further extension of euthanasia

- Euthanasia and assisted suicide

Based on texts which have already been submitted during the previous legislature, three further proposals (put forward by Mme Karin Jiroflée et al, sp.A), seeking to modify the law of May 28, 2002 on euthanasia, have just recently been laid before the Chamber of Belgian Deputies, without any specific deadline for their adoption having for the moment been defined.

The first proposal (Doc 54 1013/001) aims to authorize the act of euthanasia for patients who are unable to express their wishes ...

Read more

Legalizing euthanasia. Why now?

- Euthanasia and assisted suicide

Professor in the Faculty of Medicine
Founding Director of the Faculty of Law's Centre for Medicine,
Ethics and Law at McGill University

Until very recently, all countries prohibited euthanasia....


Somerville, Margaret, Death Talk: The Case against Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide, McGill Queen's University Press; Montreal, 2001, pp 433.  Chapter 6 reprinted in Wesley Cragg, Christine M. Koggel, Contemporary Moral Issues, 5th Ed., 2005.

Read more

Belgian Euthanasia Increases by 89% in four years.

- Euthanasia and assisted suicide

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 ...

Read more