Belgium’s euthanasia program should serve as a warning to the rest of the world. While euthanasia and assisted suicide advocates will usually offer trite excuses about why euthanasia is “needed,” such as to allow the terminally ill to end their lives quickly and painlessly, the reality of what happens when euthanasia is legalized is rarely acknowledged.
The truth is too horrifying – and one only needs to look to Belgium for proof. Far from affecting only the terminally ill or the person in extreme suffering, euthanasia has become a free-for-all.
Consider recent cases that have shocked the world. There was a transsexual euthanized after a sex change operation, because he didn’t want to be a monster. Belgian twins were euthanized, not because they were suffering or dying, but because they were going blind. And at least two women suffering from mental illness – anorexia and depression – have been killed as well. These are just the stories that have made international news.
So it shouldn’t be surprising that the Belgian Senate is going to be voting on a bill next week that will allow the euthanasia of children, where it is expected to pass. The bill is needed, lawmakers claim, because children are already being euthanized anyway. As Alex Schadenberg, president of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition noted:
The number of euthanasia deaths in Belgium is skyrocketing with an increase of 25% in 2012. Recent studies indicate that up to 47% of all assisted deaths are not being reported, 32% of all assisted deaths are being done without request and nurses are killing their patients, even though the law restricts euthanasia to doctors.
Some Belgian experts are supporting the extension of euthanasia to children with disabilities because they say that it is being done already. The same medical experts suggest that the extension of euthanasia will result in an increase of 10 to 100 euthanasia deaths each year.
So why not let minors decide they want to kill themselves? It’s not like teenagers are incapable of making rational decisions that have long-term consequences or anything. (Oh, wait.) Doctors could also decide that a child’s life is grave or hopeless, and therefore, that child should just go ahead and be killed. And the terms “grave” and “hopeless” aren’t subjective at all. Whether parents agree or disagree, Belgium will be allowing doctors to legally kill their patients, merely because they find the child’s life to be, say, “hopeless.”
While there doesn’t seem to be anything to keep the euthanasia train from jumping the rails in Belgium, this horror can at least serve as a warning to the rest of us.