Belgian Court Forces Nursing Home to Permit Euthanasia on Its Premises - We Say No
Belgium legalised euthanasia in 2003, a year after neighbouring Holland, and it now has one of the most permissive euthanasia regimes in the world.
Now, Judges in Belgium have fined a Catholic nursing home for refusing to allow the euthanasia of a lung cancer sufferer on its premises.
Huize Saint Augustine rest home has been fined €6000 after it prevented doctors from killing one its residents, Mariette Buntjens, by administering a lethal injection. The incident occurred in 2011 and some days after, the 74 year-old woman was taken to her own address to be killed “in peaceful surroundings”.
Buntjens’ family later sued the nursing home for causing their mother “unnecessary mental and physical suffering”.
While the amount of money is relatively small, this ruling sets a dangerous legal precedent. All three judges unanimously declared that “the nursing home had no right to refuse euthanasia on the basis of conscientious objection.”
This test case apparently clarifies and confirms Belgian law to mean that only individual medical professionals – and not hospitals or care homes – have the right to refuse euthanasia on demand. This judgement could even mean the closure of scores of Catholic-run nursing and care homes across Belgium as the Catholic Church has already explicitly stated that it will not permit euthanasia “under any circumstances”.
Sylvie Tack, the lawyer for the family, said “Only a physician can invoke conscientious objection. This is an important precedent for the entire industry.”
This should be deeply concerning to all who truly respect the value of human life and those value freedom and respect for conscience.
That an institution dedicated to providing residential accommodation with healthcare should be required to perform euthanasia on its premises is an outrage. Euthanasia is not a cure, death is not a treatment, it is not healthcare. It does not treat symptoms which cause suffering, but eliminates the person who is suffering. That any doctor or institution dedicated to promoting health should even be expected to euthanize their patients is a gross distortion of what medicine is for.
Furthermore, in Decemeber 2012, deaf twins Marc and Eddy Verbessem, 45, were granted their wish to die after they learned they were likely to go blind, and Nancy Verhelst, 44, a transsexual, was also killed by lethal injection after her doctors botched her sex change operation, leaving her with physical deformities she felt made her look like a “monster”. This is a great sadness and not something the state should endorse.
This is where the supposed “right-to-die” leads: its devalues the lives of the disabled and those who are suffering and, all who disagree will be forced to comply or face legal penalties.
The sick and dying deserve assistance to live, not to die.
This deeply anti-life, illiberal move by the Belgian courts must be opposed.