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February 18, 2021 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) — There has been a rapid rise in deaths caused by euthanasia across Belgium and the Netherlands, according to a Vienna-based bioethics institute. Antonia Tully, of the SPUC Lives Worth Living Campaign, said: “It is sad that people see death as the solution to their problems. But this is how people start to think once euthanasia has been legalized.”

The Vienna-based Institute for Medical Anthropology and Bioethics (IMABE) reported this month that the number of people killed by euthanasia and assisted suicide had surged in Belgium from just 24 in 2002 to 2,656 in 2019.

During the same period, the number of people killed by assisted suicide in the Netherlands increased from 1,882 to 6,361.

SPUC’s Antonia Tully said: “This is devastating data and each death is a tragedy. We know that in countries where assisted suicide is legal, many who ‘choose’ to die report that they want to avoid becoming a burden on family and carers. Over a third of Canadians who were killed by assisted suicide in 2019 claimed that they feared being a burden on family, friends and caregivers if they continued to live.

“In Washington State in 2018, 51% of people who were killed by assisted suicide said that being a burden on family, friends and caregivers was a reason to end their lives.”

Creeping culture of death

In 2002, the Netherlands and Belgium passed euthanasia and assisted suicide laws.

Both countries have some of the world’s most lax assisted suicide laws. Assisted suicide in Belgium is not restricted to the terminally ill or to adults, as children and people with psychiatric conditions are also eligible to be killed there.

SPUC’s Antonia Tully added: “There is a creeping culture of death spreading around the globe as euthanasia laws are passed in one country after another. During 2020, New Zealand, Spain and Portugal all passed bills to allow assisted suicide. Here in Britain, we must resist all attempts to normalize this dangerous practice and instead promote a society where each human life is valued and respected.”

Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.