Have your say on today’s X-POLL; EUTHANASIA LAW
Thank you to Canadian broadcaster CBC for this story, read the full article here
Marc and Eddy Verbessem were 45-year-old cobblers from the Belgian village of Putte. They were deaf, going blind, and they turned to a doctor to end their lives.
Their controversial action in January has fuelled renewed debate over legalized euthanasia in Belgium, coming days before the national parliament began a discussion on extending the euthanasia law to include terminally ill children and people with dementia.
It’s a polarizing moral and ethical issue with no easy answers, and parliament continues to grapple with how to handle amendments to the law.
In Belgium it’s not a system of assisted suicide — a doctor handing over a pill. It is death within minutes, with a doctor administering an injection.
More than a decade into legalized euthanasia, 80 per cent of Belgians approve of the existing law.
But even to a leading euthanasia practitioner like Marc van Hoey, president of Right to Die Flanders, the Verbessem case was unusual.
The law makes euthanasia an option for patients whose death is imminent and for those with a chronic degenerative illness. One of the Verbessem brothers did have breathing problems and could only sleep sitting up. The other had had surgery on his spine and had difficulty walking. But their conditions were not terminal.
Still, for the last year of their lives they sent their doctor a letter every week asking for euthanasia. They stopped eating.
Critics say the decision to help the brothers end their lives was beyond the scope of existing legislation.
“It was completely outside the framework of the law in Belgium,” says an enraged Carine Brochier. “The doctor should be in jail.”
So, as the debate in Belgian parliament over whether to officially expand the scope of the euthanasia law continues, we ask
Should the law be changed?