Saturday 6 April 2013

Stunning 5,000% increase in Belgian euthanasia cases in eleven years since legalisation

I have previously highlighted the rapid escalation of euthanasia and assisted suicide cases in the Netherlands, Oregon and Switzerland in recent years but Belgium is eclipsing all of these countries in the race to become the ‘world leader’.

In 2012, the number of euthanasia cases in Belgium increased by 25%, from 2011 reaching a record level of 1,432 since the practice was legalized in the country in 2002 (original source here).

The Federal Control and Evaluation euthanasia (FCEE), in publishing the data, is now considering to extend the right to citizens who suffer from degenerative mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s and also children.

A recent FCEE report on euthanasia in Belgium on 2010 and 2011, unfortunately available only in French, details the longer term trends since legalisation.

The upper line in the graph above is the total of euthanasia cases reported to the commission and shows an increase from 24 cases in 2002 to 1,133 in 2011 – a stunning overall increase of 4,620% in just ten years! If we include the 1,432 figure for 2012 the increase is well over 5,000% in eleven years. Even if we count it from the first full year (2003), the increase is still over 500%.

The middle line in the graph above is the number of cases reported in Dutch (so by Dutch speaking medical doctors) and the bottom line is the number of cases reported in French (Walloon part and Brussels). So it seems that euthanasia is performed mostly in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium (Flanders).

It is important to note that only acts which intentionally end life using barbiturates (Article 2 of the law on euthanasia) meet the legal definition of legal euthanasia so these figures do not include people killed by deliberate overdosage with morphine, withdrawal of treatment with explicit aim of ending life or ‘terminal sedation’ with the aim of hastening death.

We know from the Netherlands that these other ways of ending life have also increased dramatically in recent years.

Over the last two years 75% of euthanasia cases in Belgium were for cancer (including all malignancies), 7% were for progressive neuromuscular disorders (multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, etc) and 18% were for ‘other conditions’.  

69% of euthanasia were performed in patients aged 40-79 years and 27% in patients older than 79 years.

194 cases over the two years (9%) involved patients whose deaths were ‘not foreseeable in the short term’ and 2% of cases involved unconscious patients who had earlier signed advance directives.

In the vast majority of cases (99%), death was produced by inducing deep unconsciousness first with barbiturates (usually thiopental ) followed by an IV injection of a paralyzing muscle relaxant (usually norcuron or tracium).

The Committee in its report emphasized the importance of ‘easy availability of products needed for euthanasia’ and considered that the medical school curriculum and postgraduate education sessions should include training on ‘the proper implementation of euthanasia’ .

It seems that euthanasia has now been accepted as part of normal medical care in Belgium.

The lessons are clear. Once euthanasia is legalised steady escalation follows along with a change in the social conscience so that it rapidly becomes accepted as normal.

With new bills about to be debated in the Westminster and Scottish parliaments Britain should take warning. 


  1. wondering if they count abortion as euthanasia? that's a lot of killing before a God who said 'thou shall not kill'

  2. As we are all going to die, and so we are all potentially affected by this issue, and should all have a say in this debate.

    Why should it be left up to religious groups to decide our fate when we reach our deathbeds.
    Christians seem to believe that they are morally superior and therefore have the right to dictate to us all on this subject, that , their opinion, should be forced on the rest of us.

    I want a referendum.
    Christians have no role in my life, why should they have any more say in my death.

    1. The major opposition to this actually comes from doctors, parliamentarians and disability rights groups - of which only a very small percentage have a religious faith. It's about public safety. If you change the law you put vulnerable people at risk of exploitation and abuse..

    2. No Christians have no role in your life and that you are right .But God Your Creator and Savior does.You see you were Creator and contrary to your beliefs You are that Image of God to which you have no right to deface nor to kill.You are His and He alone has the right to take your life.Should you end your life: You are in for a great surprise .there is the after life and you will have to answer for your last hair of your body and your life .Oh yes that you will have to explain to God why you have taken what did not belong to you .Guess where you will end up? HELL and that my friend it is ETERNAL. FOREVER AND EVER.May God have mercy on you and open your eyes to the truth before it is too late.

  3. These statistics prove that palliative is inadequate more than anything else.


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