We reported last week that euthanasia was out of control in Belgium. We now report that the Justice and Social Affairs Committee of the Belgian Senate on Wednesday Nov. 27th, approved a bill aimed at extending the 2002 euthanasia law to include children and dementia sufferers. The Committee approved the measure by 13 votes to 4 votes against.
The bill will now be considered in a plenary session of the Senate and will also be examined and approved by the Chamber (National Assembly). The schedule however has not yet been set.
It should also be noted that there are other bills in the pipeline aimed at extending or facilitating euthanasia for, “persons affected by an incurable cerebral illness” (such as Alzheimers).
The president of the Belgian bishops’ conference joined other faith leaders in criticising the proposed legislation, warning the measure risks “destroying the functioning of society”. See article in the Catholic Herald.
“We are also opposed to suffering, whether physical or moral, and especially the suffering of children,” Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, conference president, said in a joint statement with Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders.“But to suggest minors can decide on their own euthanasia is to falsify their power of judgment and their freedom. To suggest persons with dementia can also be euthanized is to deny their dignity and hand them over to the arbitrary judgment of decision-makers.”
We can also report that on Tuesday evening prior to the approval of the bill by the committee a number of peaceful protesters were harassed by the police .
According to reports the peaceful protestors who came as "Veillerus" ("watchers") to express their disapproval of the new euthanasia in front of the Senate were warned to move on, and some were even arrested.
The protesters posed the following question to the police:
"Why are you arresting us, the peaceful Watchers? Should not you rather arrest the doctors who admit publicly to infringe the current legislation on euthanasia by not denouncing those who perform it?"