Friday, January 31, 2014

Council of Europe concerned about the proposed legislation on euthanasia for minors in Belgium. What will the Governmental Christian Democratic Parties do?

Next week, Belgian House of Representatives (lower house) will vote on the euthanasia of young children. The bill which has already been supported in the Senate, allows to extend mercy-killing to children found to be terminally-ill. “This ‘symbolic dossier’ which has not been negotiated by the ruling coalition seems to be pushed through at a tremendous pace. 

A great responsibility rests on the shoulders of the governmental Christian Democrat parties, which were surpassed by their governing partners in this issue of life and death”, Kris Vleugels, the chair of C'axent, the Belgian movement for more Christian values in politics and former vice-President of the ECPM, was quoted as saying. According to him, long term social commitment is rooted in deep moral convictions, while the contemporary culture is self-centred and indifferent to the principles of human dignity.' Kris Vleugels is also worried that the Belgian case might create a precedent that will be pushed in several other EU member states. 

His concerns were shared by a written declaration by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) which stated that this vote in the Belgian Senate concerning euthanasia for children "betrays some of the most vulnerable children in Belgium by accepting that their lives may not longer have any inherent value or worth and that they should die; mistakenly assumes that children are able to give appropriate informed consent to euthanasia and that they can understand the grave meaning and complex consequences associated with such a decision and that it promotes the unacceptable belief that a life can be unworthy of life which challenges the very basis of civilised society."

The key question is: What will the Govermental Christian Democratic Party do? How will they value the protection of life? How will they value the concerns expressed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe? With the upcoming elections in Belgium I believe it is of utmost importance for them to focus on the basic Christian Democratic values instead of betraying them during the last months within this Government. Therefore they should do their utmost to block this dangerous legislative proposal and eventually ask more research by experts on this issue. This issue even had never been part of the Governmental Coalition agreement!
Moral concerns
All Christian church communities in Belgium, supported by the Muslims and Jews, indicate that ‘euthanasia of vulnerable people, children or people with dementia, radically violates their human dignity’. Mgr. Renzo Pegoraro, the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy for life, hopes for more public debate on this matter of life and death. ‘Children are strongly influenced by the psychological and physical effects of a disease. Children's euthanasia is a perversion of mercy’.

Survival of the fittest legislation
The design of the most liberal euthanasia law neglects long term thinking. Casting the right to end one’s life in an even more extensive framework of law shall lead to ‘children who are waiting for the inheritance of their demented mother, who then chooses/ has chosen ' voluntary ' for an injection; over- the- age of 85 elderly people who will soon not have the right anymore to undergo subsidized medical operations? (review of 40% of the Flemings/ research Socialist Mutuality’s 2013); depressed, uprooted teens who are in despair ‘choose’ for an irreversible act of ‘mercy’; the lonely for whom no one cares any more, will ' voluntary ' choose to, etc. It is the ultimate proof that the survival of the fittest society will eventually be a cruel one', according to C'axent.

Alternative solutions
Medical science has developed in the most sophisticated pain and coma management. Flemish and Belgian medical care are among the very best in the world. Though palliative care has already a long history in this country, life is becoming more actively cut off. It is through a focus on the dignity of life of every human being that active termination of it can be prevented. For C’axent this is possible ‘by a total care based on a holistic framework ', including the physical and the psychic/mental pain relief and increase of well-being, during this extremely difficult period for every human being. That moreover confirms the concept of the art of medicine, worldwide still rooted in curing human beings, not in killing them.

European precedent
The European Christian Political Movement is worried about this Belgian proposal since it can be used by left-liberal lobby to push towards similar legislation in other EU countries as well. Although matters on human dignity are decided on by the member states, the example of the Estrela report has clearly shown that many do not respect the subsidiarity principle and national sovereignty.
As we've seen for the Estrela and Lunacek issues, the liberal-leftist coalition want to be as quick as possible. The debates in the Parliament were botched and no experts were allowed to give their opinions. 

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