Belgium adopts euthanasia for children. Quebec is likely to follow shortly after the adoption of Bill 52.

Montreal, December 12, 2013 – The Belgian Senate just voted the expansion of the euthanasia law to children in terminal phases of illnesses, or facing unbearable physical pain, without age limit. It has only taken 11 years for the Belgian law to be modified to allow the killing of children by euthanasia.

In Quebec, Bill 52, aiming to introduce medical aid in dying, is undergoing a detailed study in parliamentary commission. Medical aid in dying is an injection of a poison aimed at causing the immediate death of the patient. It is euthanasia. Bill 52 is based on the Belgian euthanasia law, and if adopted, doctors in Quebec working in hospitals will be required to conduct on-demand euthanasia.

People are trying to convince us that medical aid in dying shall be reserved to a very small number of exceptional cases, and that children will never be targeted. However, some groups, including the Collège des médecins du Québec, have already stated in parliamentary commission that the law should apply to children and incompetent adults.

In such a context, we cannot afford to ignore the Belgian experience of the last eleven years. In that country, euthanasia became legal in 2002 for "rare exceptional cases, under strict conditions", just like the Quebec government is promising with Bill 52. But today, the Belgian Senate adopts the expansion of their law to minors. How long will it take for Quebec to do the same and expand the law to minor and incompetent adults?

Things will not be different in Quebec. To think otherwise is to play ostrich. Do not ignore what is happening where euthanasia is legal. Reject any law that would eventually permit doctors to kill their patients.

Source: Living With Dignity and Physicians' Alliance for Total Refusal of Euthanasia. Follow us on Twitter: @vivredignite and @collectifmed

For further information or to organise an interview, please contact:

Nicolas Steenhout,
Director General
Living With Dignity