Right to death

Belgian citizens have got the right to death: Belgium is the second country, after Holland, which has legilized euthanasia. Belgian parliament passed the proper law (86 votes “for”, 51 votes – “again,” with 10 abstentions). It permits euthanasia in exclusive cases. According to BBC, this law does not give an unrestricted murder licence, like some opponents of euthanasia suppose, but renders to Belgian citizens free anaesthetics, which will keep terminally-ill patients who do not have money for medicine from extreme measures. While to realize euthanasia, written request of the patient is necessary about his wish to die and the opinion of one more doctor about incurability of the patient. The request of the patient should be formulated without pressure from outside. Though, the law which permits euthanasia has many opponents. In Belgium, that are first of all Christian democrats. They intend to bring a suit against this law in the European Court. It is noticeable that this time the law was passed not in a protestant country (like Holland), but in a Catholic one, which is much more conservative. Moreover, two-year discussions about legalization of euthanasia were not accompanied in Belgium with meetings and some serious incidents. According to Vesti RTR, “the only expression of emotions, while the decisive sitting was being carried out, was a cartoon: a doctor killing his patient.” Many deputies simply preferred to drift where the waves go: they voted for the law only because euthanasia had already entered medical practice in Belgium. While in Holland, it was declared that people who chose euthanasia will be turned down of church burial. According to Michael Savelsberg, representative of Hertogenbosh diocese and one of the seven Catholic dioceses of the Netherlands, “the church can bury only that ones who has already died from euthanasia, though it refuses to bury Catholics who now plan to go of their own free will with help of doctors.” Savelsberg notices that “the church protects human life, and we believe that it is in God’s hands, but not in human. From Catholic Church’s view, euthanasia is inadmissible.” Now, let us learn the opinion of a Russian scientist Irina Siluyanova, professor of Russian State Medicine University, doctor of philosophy, expressed in her work Killing: Legal and illegal: “Initially, medical staff understood its destination in this way: “to treat when possible, to always take care of the patient, and to never kill” (Declaration about euthanasia of Ramseev colloquium of New York Religions and Public Life Institute, 1992). Hippocratus stated: “I will not give to anybody a murder mean demanded from me and will not show the way to realize an intention like that.” And he also did not mentioned any special circumstances or rights either for free people or for slaves, either for men or for women, either for rich or for poor people. To permit and to admit euthanasia is a serious moral mistake for a doctor. It differs from any theoretical or research mistake, because it is being realized through human acts, whose results are irreversible both for doctor and patient…” Professor A.Silber in his book Ethic and Law in the Medicine of Critical States proposed to call a spade a spade and to introduce a new terminus into the medicine of critical states – “medical assistance in committing suicide” – MACS.

Sergei Yugov PRAVDA.Ru Translated by Vera Solovieva

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/05/17/41231.html

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