Sunday, October 13, 2013

Belgium and Euthanasia laws - what are your thoughts?

Don't ask me how I ended up on this topic, but I ended up fact-checking an alleged ridiciously high percentage of euthanasia cases in Belgium and came across a couple of interesting euthanasia cases in Belgium.

Belgium does allow euthanasia for terminal illnesses and now also psychological suffering. I was aware of the terminal illness, but was surprised about the psychological suffering. I came across this aspect of euthanasia aspect by chance. It seems that Nathan Verhelst chose euthanasia after his gender reassignment surgeries failed. Belgium now has around 2000 deaths by euthanasia each year (1% of all deaths). Another case that gained headlines were two brothers that were born deaf and suffered from an incurable disease. They chose euthanasia when they started going blind. 

from Huffington Post here. Deaf Belgian twins euthanized after starting to turn blind.

I do not want to diminish the effect of psychological suffering. But unlike terminal illness, psychological suffering has more of a grey area. In the cases cited in the article, all parties opted for euthanasia out of their own will and there no suspicion that anyone got unduly influenced in this decision. I am still concerned that especially in cases of psychological suffering the environment may be a significant factor in inducing or contributing to the suffering. We hear a lot about cyberbullying these days. What if the consequences of cyberbullying are so severe that people elect euthanasia. There have been way too many cases of young people committing suicide due to constant and egregious cyberbullying. If euthanasia were to become an option, and under the Belgium definition it may soon, are not we as a society then making it too easy for us to get rid of victims rather than attempt to cure our own evil(doing)s.

To me the subject of euthanasia is interesting on a variety of levels. But one concern that I have always had is where will society draw the line? Are we started already on the slippery slope of allowing psychological suffering as a reason for euthanasia? But who are we to judge when suffering, of any kind, is too much?

What are your thoughts?



amanda ripsam said...

oh I'm not sure how I would reply to this one I guess to each there own but there's the other person who has to help do it right ? I mean I'd have that hanging over my head haunting me each day I wouldn't be able to sleep if I had to help someone but if I couldn't help them and they were suffering I'd have the same exact emotions.

Krystle Smith said...

I don't know. I don't really think people are able to decide, but at the same time they should have that right.

Mommy 2 J.A.M. said...

Gosh this is a very touchy subject. I have my views as I see you do. I appreciate you sharing.

xscottbx said...

I agree. This is a very slippery slope. That fact that people would rather end their lives then stay with their loved ones till the end, kind of shows where we are going as a society. I still say that no one person should say if anyone lives or dies.

Ian Garstang said...

Life is a gift and (after about 21) what people do with it is up to them. Suicide is a weird beast, it can be done alone with no loved ones or support network, or it can lash out and hurt others. I do not think those at the euthanasia take their role likely and do everything in their power to get help and support for people first. Only after all possible routes have been exhausted then they offer to provide the service. The euthanasia clinic could be a first step, like a cry for help.

Peachy Adarne said...

This is a very sensitive topic but I don't think someone has a right to decide whether one should live or die. It's a natural process.