By Dr. Peter Saunders
Editor’s note. Dr. Saunders is a former general surgeon and is CEO of Christian Medical Fellowship, a UK-based organization with 4,500 UK doctors and 1,000 medical students as members.
It is widely acknowledged that euthanasia is out of control in Belgium: a 500% increase in cases in ten years; one third involuntary; half not reported; euthanasia for blindness, anorexia and botched sex change operations; organ transplant euthanasia; plans to extend euthanasia to children and people with dementia.
One commentator has said that Belgium has ‘leaped head-first off a moral cliff’.
Belgium’s law, which came into effect in 2002, permits euthanasia for those in a ‘medically hopeless’ situation due to a serious and incurable condition caused by injury or illness, with physical and/or psychological suffering which is constant and unbearable, and cannot be mitigated.
But it is clear that in practice the boundaries are continually migrating and the nation’s moral conscience is shifting year on year. Call it incremental extension, mission creep or slippery slope – whatever – it is strongly in evidence in Belgium.
Assisted suicide is treated the same as euthanasia when reported, despite its position in law being unclear.
Here is a series of articles, both on this blog and elsewhere, which chart the steps in Belgium’s meteoric rise to become euthanasia capital of the world. Much of this material has not been covered by the British media in spite of the fact that Belgium is one of our very closest European neighbours.
With the Falconer and MacDonald bills currently before the House of Lords and Scottish Parliament respectively Britain needs to take sober warning from events across the English Channel.