This is a Google translation of an article that appeared in the Belgian online newspaper Knack.be on the 10th of February. The debate on child euthanasia is expected to be finalized in the Belgian parliament this week.
Lawyer and opinion maker Fernand Keuleneer advocates some rationality in the euthanasia debate.
I read with interest the contribution "Fear of the unknown" by Justice Minister Annemie Turtelboom euthanasia for minors (DS, February 4). I pull no doubt that it expresses the belief that they sincere and noble in intent. But that makes her plea no less problematic.
There is no debate about that every medical practice should have the aim to bring healing and where possible in all circumstances to relieve pain and suffering as possible. When cure and death is not near, the medicine must do its contributions that go into the best possible conditions for this to happen without pain. This can certainly require unnecessary or disproportionate treatments are put stop or not start, even though this would result in a shortening of life with them.
But deciding to intentionally cause death "on request" is a decision of a different order. This is especially true when it comes to minors. That the law the agreement of each of both parents is required, it is the best evidence, especially since it is questionable whether that third party intervention is compatible with the principle of self-determination, which is the basis of the law 2002 on euthanasia.
Euthanasia can have differing opinions. There are proponents of the non-punishment of euthanasia under certain verifiable conditions. There are also advocates of "euthanasia" on request, which then quickly evolves into a fundamental right to assistance by society in a chosen termination of life at any time. In the second case, the law will look different than the first. Such massive interference, even revolutions in a legal system, in addition to the radical redefinition of the mission of the medicine that is associated with it, are not private matters, but going the whole community. A legal and a medical corps are simply common goods.
Argue that the 2002 law has not yet led to an evolution towards "death on demand" is far too short-sighted. The application of the law of 2002, which euthanasia euthanasia justified under certain conditions, is in full evolution, euthanasia among theoretically rigorous but non-verifiable conditions (eg psychological suffering), we are increasingly moving towards a practice of self-selected (time of ) death under much less stringent conditions.
Also Dr.. Marc Cosyns noted this in an interview with Knack this week.The question to be answered is whether the pre-2002 law is suitable as a framework for euthanasia in minors as Minister Turtelboom she describes. I do not think so. I think the law of 2002 should first thoroughly evaluated.
I have a Minister of Justice not later explain that a legal system has a dynamic and evolving under the influence of fundamental rights, legislation or court decisions. A number of safeguards for euthanasia minors Minister Turtelboom which draws attention, threaten to disappear rapidly. How can one, in the light of the principle of non-discrimination, insisting that a "judgment competent but non-emancipated minor" (a new and undefined legal concept) can not ask for euthanasia for psychological distress, while an "emancipated minor" of same age and in the same can.It's just one of many examples. And consultation between the environment not always take place in optimal conditions, as every lawyer knows with minimal experience in divorces.
What a difference of opinion between (whether or not separated) parents?And a parent may refuse to accept any reasons, too philosophical? In the very short term, judges will have to judge. These potential disputes This is just not well thought out and not a good framework.
And finally, what about the following provision in the bill:
"The request of the patient, as well as the consent of the legal representative if the patient is a minor, must be in writing. This document is drawn up, dated and signed by the patient."
The minor must act the agreement of his parents yourself? We both know, Madam Minister, that this is nonsense. As it is nonsense that according to the draft of the death should be constant and unbearable physical suffering, and not caused by accident or disease condition. "Etc.. Etc.. Due in the foreseeable future
The question that concerns me is "Why do so many people continue to deny the obvious gross defects of this text, they deny the most basic improvements, and they want this text wrong to use forceful hunt with the whip by the parliament?" Would it be the hubris of the ideology of absolute self-determination? I suggest that citizens also say this on May 25 are allowed to do. In a few months is it not? It seems, however, that one takes this judgment all costs to avoid.