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Peter Byrne/PA Wire
World News

Christian group issues concern as euthanasia hits record high in Belgium

by Antony Bushfield

In 2015 there were 2,022 cases where people had taken the decision to end their own life, the Euthanasia Control Commission said.

Euthanasia has been legal in Belgium since 2002. In that year there were just 24 cases but the new figures show it has increase almost a hundredfold.

The number of people euthanized since 2002 now stands at 12,762.

Sophia Kuby, Director of EU Advocacy for ADF International: "The seventh report on euthanasia in Belgium shows that once we open the doors to intentional killing, there is no logical stopping point.

"The slippery slope that Belgium embarked on in 2002 is becoming more and more visible. Today, euthanasia for a person who is perfectly healthy in a physical sense, but suffers from psychological illnesses, is accepted in Belgium."

The figures show cancer is the most common reason people request help to die early but 15% of cases were for non-terminal illnesses.

Loss of eye sight, hearing loss, limitations of movement, or heart problems are also listed.

The law in Belgium requires suffering to be "unbearable" to qualify for euthanasia but ADF said that wasn't always being held to.

"Modern palliative care can effectively treat most physical pain. It allows people to live their final moments in true dignity," said Robert Clarke, Legal Counsel and Director for European Advocacy for ADF International.

"While Belgium initially claimed to legalize euthanasia in order to prevent people from unnecessary suffering, now it also allows the killing of those who are physically healthy.

"We will be judged as a society by how we care for our most vulnerable. We have much better to offer the elderly and the sick than euthanasia, which can place a tremendous implicit, or even explicit, pressure on those people."

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