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Belgium Keeps Euthanizing Mentally Ill Patients

By  Paul Bois

The so-called “Death with Dignity” advocates keep pressing on about how euthanasia and assisted suicide will only pertain to severely ill people, similar to how abortion advocates promote child-killing as a desperate measure for severely downtrodden women. The facts show neither is the case, especially in Europe, where Down syndrome babies are disappearing in certain countries and the mentally ill are now dying by lethal injection.

One of the leaders in the death for mental patients movement is Belgium where people can be put to death if they lament of “unbearable and futile psychological suffering” suffering to a doctor. The incredibly relaxed language regarding mental patients has sparked alarm among some medical professionals in Belgium, who recently penned an open letter calling for a national debate on the issue. Here’s some of what they had to say:

Euthanasia because of unbearable and futile psychological suffering is very problematic. It is about people who are not terminal and, in principle, could live for many years. Therefore, extreme caution is appropriate both clinically and legally. The essence of the case seems to us that in estimating the hopelessness of one’s suffering, the subjective factor cannot be eliminated …

The law does not indicate the exact criteria for unbearable and psychological suffering. Any complaint about any carelessness in this area will only end in a legal ‘no man’s land’.

More and more, no matter how many criteria there are, it depends simply on how an individual psychiatrist interprets or tests them, aided by the doctor’s own assumptions and the patient’s account of his symptoms.

A recent article in The Washington Post highlighted that Lieve Thienpont, a psychiatrist who permits euthanasia based on mental suffering, allowed patients to die without meeting the legislation’s requirements. Thienpont denied the claims and said patients misrepresented her. “These patients are very desperate, stressed,” she said. “They say things that are not always correct.”

The magazine Knack profiled some of the stress psychiatrists are under based on the new law and how it has changed their relationships with their patients. They wrote:

Strangely enough, people with less severe and readily treatable mental disorders – such as borderline personality disorders – request euthanasia more often than seriously ill patients. The offer really creates the question. Euthanasia has become a new symptom. Often it’s a cry for help: ‘Am I still worth living, or are you giving up on me?’ But it is a symptom with particularly dangerous consequences.

Only five states in the Union allow for physician-assisted suicide. ​

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