This is a real hoot. Apparently OZ PM Julia Gillard has stated that she doesn’t see a way to create a euthanasia legalization system with safeguards that really protect. A Belgian professor—Down Under for a convention of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies—claims that she should look to Belgium to learn how it is done. From the story:
A PIONEER of Belgium’s voluntary euthanasia law has rebuffed Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s statement that it could be ”almost impossible” to find appropriate safeguards for such a law in Australia. Professor Jan Bernheim, a cancer specialist who was instrumental in creating Belgium’s voluntary euthanasia law in 2002, said Australia could learn a lot from his country about how to create a safe system. Last week, Ms Gillard said she found it difficult to conceive how there could be appropriate safeguards for such a law, but Professor Bernheim said Belgium’s safeguards had worked very well for the past eight years. ”Ms Gillard obviously hasn’t looked at the data,” Professor Bernheim said. ”I think Belgium has a system that is well worth considering.”
Belgium???? Abuses abound! Consider these stories covered by SHS and elsewhere:
- The very first “legal” Belgian euthanasia violated the guidelines. Talk about proving my point.
- Belgian nurses engage in non voluntary euthanasia: Only doctors are supposed to kill and euthanasia is supposed to be strictly voluntary. Yet in the study referenced, nearly half of the euthanasia deaths had not been requested.
- In Flanders, the Dutch speaking part of Belgium, there were nearly as many non voluntary terminations as voluntary. Obviously, a fundamental violation of the guidelines.
- Belgian doctors materially under report euthanasia killings: This is a direct violation of Belgian law.
- A Belgian patient was euthanized even though she didn’t qualify under the law because she went on a hunger strike. This is just an example of death on demand.
- All doctors must be complicit, either by agreeing to euthanize qualified patients who ask or referring to a doctor who will.
- Belgian doctors commit infanticide. Clearly a violation of every guideline on the books. Here’s an earlier entry reporting on a similar report.
- Belgian doctors have coupled euthanasia with organ donation: The dangers of creating a utilitarian justification for euthanasia are clear and present.
- Belgian pharmacies sell euthanasia kits to doctors for $74. Proving that killing is cheaper than caring. (Yes, I know that technically, this isn’t an abuse. But it is illuminating.)
I would say that Professor Bernheim is the one who hasn’t actually looked at the facts. PM Gillard is absolutely correct. Guidelines do not—and cannot-protect against abuse.