January 7, 2013
Euthanasia for Alzheimer's, 'Accelerated Deaths' Considered by European Neighbors
France and Belgium consider expanding end-of-life laws.
A presidential report has recommended that France legalize "accelerated deaths"—but not euthanasia.
Agence France-Presse reports that the study, commissioned by French president François Hollande, favors physician-authorized "interventions that ensure quicker deaths for terminal patients in three specific sets of circumstances." However, it stops short of recommending euthanasia.
According to Radio France Internationale, current French legislation states "it is illegal to give patients medication which will kill them, but legal to administer pain relief, which might have the side effect of shortening life."
Hollande said the existing policies do "not meet the legitimate concerns expressed by people who are gravely and incurably ill," and he plans to introduce new legislation based on the report within the year.
Meanwhile, Belgium—one of only two countries in Europe in which euthanasia currently is legal for those over age 18—is also considering changes that would allow both "minors and Alzheimer's sufferers to seek permission to die," AFP reports.
CT has regularly reported on the topic of physician-assisted suicide, noting changes to Dutch euthanasia policies in 2006 and the confusion caused when the media covers end-of-life issues. CT has also noted the spread of "quieter killings" beyond Oregon into Washington, and almost Massachusetts.