Eugenics in Europe: Euthanasia for minors and ‘accelerated death’ for the sick

AFP | DECEMBER 19, 2012

Belgium is considering a significant change to its decade-old euthanasia law that would allow minors and Alzheimer’s sufferers to seek permission to die.

The proposed changes to the law were submitted to parliament Tuesday by the Socialist party and are likely to be approved by other parties, although no date has yet been put forward for a parliamentary debate.

“The idea is to update the law to take better account of dramatic situations and extremely harrowing cases we must find a response to,” party leader Thierry Giet said.

The draft legislation calls for “the law to be extended to minors if they are capable of discernment or affected by an incurable illness or suffering that we cannot alleviate.”

Belgium was the second country in the world after the Netherlands to legalise euthanasia in 2002 but it applies only to people over the age of 18.

Socialist Senator Philippe Mahoux, who helped draft the proposed changes, said there had been cases of adolescents who “had the capacity to decide” their future.

He said parliamentarians would also consider extended mercy-killing to people suffering from Alzheiner’s-type illnesses.

Euthanasia was allowed to an Alzheimer’s patient for the first time in the Netherlands last year.

In Belgium, some 1,133 cases — mostly for terminal cancer — were recorded in 2011, about one percent of all deaths in the country, according to official figures.

A seriously ill prisoner serving a long jail sentence this year became the first inmate to die under Belgium’s euthanasia laws.

Accelerated Death

France should allow doctors to “accelerate the coming of death” for terminally ill patients, a report to President Francois Hollande recommended Tuesday.

Hollande referred the report to a national council on medical ethics which will examine the precise circumstances under which such steps could be authorised with a view to producing draft legislation by June 2013.

“The existing legislation does not meet the legitimate concerns expressed by people who are gravely and incurably ill,” Hollande said.

The report said physicians should be allowed to authorise interventions that ensure quicker deaths for terminal patients in three specific sets of circumstances.

In the first case, the patient involved would be capable of making an explicit request to that effect or have issued advance instructions in the event of him or her becoming incapable of expressing an opinion.

The second scenario envisages medical teams withdrawing treatment and/or nourishment on the basis of a request by the family of a dying patient who is no longer conscious and has not made any instructions.

The third would apply to cases where treatment is serving only to sustain life artificially.

The author of the report, Professor Didier Sicard, stressed that he did not support any measures which “suddenly and prematurely end life.”

“We are radically opposed to inscribing euthanasia in law,” Sicard told a press conference.

He also stressed that he was not advocating Swiss-style clinics where people are provided with lethal medication to enable them to end their own lives.

Instead, Sicard said he favoured amendments to a 2005 law which already authorises doctors to administer painkilling drugs at levels they know will, as a secondary effect, shorten a patient’s life.

Sicard’s report was drawn up after extensive consultation with the terminally ill and their families which revealed widespread dissatisfaction with a “cure at all costs” culture in the medical establishment.

Australian Bill Allows for Sterilizations Without Parental Consent

by Anthony Gucciardi
Natural Society
March 6, 2012

Following the call by ethicists for after-birth abortions and the press explosion surrounding the ‘Euthanasia Coaster‘, new legislation from Australia is now paving the way for children of any age to consent to sterilization — without parental consent. That’s right, if a psychiatrist determines that a child under the age of 18 years is ‘sufficiently mature’, they will be sterilized without any say from the parents. Again, there is no age minimum, as long as they are ‘mature‘ enough.

The legislation, known as the ‘Draft Mental Health Bill 2011′, also allows for 12-year-olds to consent to psychosurgery and electroshock. You can view the bill for yourself on the Australian Mental Health government website. Written by the Western Australia Mental Health Commission (MHC) and overseen by Mental Health Commissioner and clinical psychologist Mr Eddie Bartnik, objections can still be submitted to Australian parliamentary members in each state until March 9th.

Some main points of the bill read:

  • CHILDREN OF ANY AGE TO CONSENT TO STERILISATION: If a psychiatrist decides that a child (under 18 years) has sufficient maturity, he or she will be able to consent to sterilisation. Parental consent will not be needed. Only after the sterilisation procedure has been performed does it have to be reported and then only to the Chief Psychiatrist. [Pages: 135 & 136 of the Draft Mental Health Bill 2011]
  • 12 YEAR OLDS WILL BE ABLE TO CONSENT TO PSYCHOSURGERY: Banned in N.S.W. and the N.T., psychosurgery irreversibly damages the brain by surgery, burning or inserting electrodes. This draft bill proposes to allow a 12 year old child, if considered to be sufficiently mature by a psychiatrist, to be able to consent to psychosurgery. Once the child has consented it goes before the Mental Health Tribunal (MHT) for approval. Parental consent is also not needed for the MHT to approve the psychosurgery. [Pages: 108, 109, 110, 197,198, 199, 213]
  • 12 YEAR OLDS WILL BE ABLE TO CONSENT TO ELECTROSHOCK (ECT): Electroshock is hundreds of volts of electricity to the head. Any child aged 12 and over, whom a child and adolescent psychiatrist decides is “mature” enough, will be able to consent to electroshock. Also, once consent is given, there is no requirement for parents or anyone, including the MHT, to approve the electroshock. Electroshock should be banned. Its use on the elderly, pregnant women and children is especially destructive. [Pages: 100, 101, 103, 104, 194, 105]
Action will need to be taken to make sure the bill does not pass. Objections can be sent to the Mental Health Commission and to Australian state legislators. Feedback options come to a close on the 9th of March at 5pm, so it is important to voice your opposition today. Here are a few ways to contact the Mental Health Commission and state your objection to the bill:
  • Mail: GPO Box X2299 Perth Business Centre, W.A. 6847