Euthanasia for prisoners

A prisoner in Belgium, Frank Van Den Bleeken, has just been granted the right to be euthanized. He is in his 50’s, has been jailed for the last 30 years, and is not terminally ill. He claims “unbearable psychological anguish”. It took three years of legal wrangling to get the courts to grant him the right to access euthanasia. Van Den Bleeken has no prospect of being released because of his violent sexual urges, and there is no therapy available for him in Belgian prisons - that is why he wants to be killed.

The pro-euthanasia lobby would have us believe that euthanasia is only for people at end-of-life. The story of Van Den Bleeken shows us that if it ever was the case, it is not any more. Other stories also show us the same thing, such as the story of the Verbessem twins, the story of Nathan Verhelmst, the story of Ann G, the story of a woman who was depressed, or the euthanasia of 45 psychiatric patients. And the list goes on.

Now that this decision has been made,  at least 15 other prisoners are requesting euthanasia. This is striking, among other things, because what you normally hear in relation to prisoners and death is that prisoners on death row fight tooth and nail to NOT be put to death. What a contrast.

Let’s face it, this is a legal precedent. This is not a case of “quietly going beyond the edict of the law”. This decision gives legal standing in Belgium to people asking for euthanasia even if they are not terminally ill and at end-of-life. There is indeed incremental extension of euthanasia laws, and neither Quebec nor Canada is immune to it.

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