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Belgium : a further extension of euthanasia

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[English] 12/05/2015

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 themselves either because the patient is unconscious or in an advanced state due to a non-congenital cerebral condition, which means that they find themselves in the physical or psychological state mentioned in their declaration.

 The second proposal (Doc 54 1014/001) aims to modify the law of May 28, 2002 on euthanasia with regard to the duration of the validity of the pre-existing declaration. While at present such a declaration is valid for a period of 5 years, the authors of the proposal wish to remove the limitation on the period of the declaration’s validity while continuing to retain the possibility of its revocation.

With regard to the third proposal (54K1015001), this concerns the obligation of referral by the medical practitioner who is unwilling either to carry out the act of euthanasia for medical reasons or for reasons of conscience. The medical practitioner will be required to find a colleague willing to carry out the act of euthanasia which he himself /she herself is unwilling to perform.