Interested in more news on the Right to Die? ERGO circulates on a regular basis an electronic newslist with news from around the world.
On 13 February the Belgian Parliament passed a bill allowing euthanasia for terminally ill children without any age limit, by 86 votes to 44, with 12 abstentions. When, as expected, the bill is signed by the king, Belgium will become the first country in the world to remove any age limit on the practice.
Vincent Lambert – a young man since 5 years in coma after a traffic accident – has become the centre of an heated debate on end-of-life decisions in France. His wife and the medical team decided, completely in accordance with the Leonetti Law and thus legally, to let him die. However his parents – fierce Catholics – did not agree and decided to have him kept alive. Even the court has ordered for him to be resuscitated.
A Swiss team of researchers - in the scope of the Swiss National Cohort Study - lead by Matthias Egger from Bern published in the International Journal of Epidemiology of January 2014 the results of their examination of socio-economic factors associated with assisted suicide. In this study they linked the suicides assisted by right-to-die associations during 2003–08 to a census-based longitudinal study of the Swiss population.
Key conclusions were:
The Japan Times (February 16, 2014) published an article called "Euthanasia: the dilemma of choice", in which the difficult situation on legalization in Japan and JSDD's opinion is clearly explained. Read it here.
Melissa Barber of Death with Dignity National Center reported on the developments in the USA: the debate over end-of-life healthcare policy reform is heating up in the North-east. Much of this is tied to the increased awareness and understanding of Death with Dignity laws resulting from the recent near victory in Massachusetts and last year's historic achievement in Vermont.
Melissa Barber keeps track on these new bills
Update from DWD Canada:
No Vote Before Two Week Recess
Quebec stumbles right at the finish line.
It was all going so very well….until it wasn’t. Quebec was poised on the threshold of a historic moment: the introduction of Bill 52. A Bill which, when passed, would for the first time in history allow Canadians to legally request medical aid in dying. A Bill which asked for better access to Palliative Care. In other words, a Bill which would provide end-of-life choice.
Erik Ekholm of the New York Times tried in an article titled “’Aid in Dying’ Movement Takes Hold in Some States” (February 7, 2014) to shed a light on the developments in the different US States. Where Oregon and Washington legalised assisted suicide and states like Montana and Vermont reached the same by Supreme Court decisions, a number of other states work to achieve the same goals.An interesting article, read it here.
Each year, the Oregon Health Authority issues an annual report which sheds a light on the small group of people who pursue this option.
Some quick facts about the usage of Oregon's law in 2013:
This morning we got notice that Els Borst suddenly and unexpectedly died at the age of 81. She was the health minister who can be said to be “the mother” of the Dutch Euthanasia law.