October Newsletter

October 2017: Mothers Matter

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Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia

"Creating a resistance movement", Vincent Kemme​


Euthanasia in the Low Countries

The theme that has been assigned to me is “Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia - creating a resistance movement”. As I come from both the Netherlands and Belgium, the first countries in the world to legalize euthanasia, in 2001 and 2002 respectively, it might be helpful to offer some information on the practice of euthanasia in these – geographically – ‘low countries’ in Western Europe (3). First of all, in both countries, the numbers of reported (!) euthanasia cases have risen significantly: from 2000 to 6000 in the Netherlands and from more than 260 to more than 2000 in Belgium. In this talk, I will make no distinction between euthanasia and medically assisted suicides because the vast majority of medically assisted deaths in both countries are cases of euthanasia where the physician (or their nurse) administers death to the patient. So the distinction is not relevant for our reflection of today.