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Once the Door is Opened to Euthanasia, the Slope will Slip

Recently, Dr. Mark S. Komrad provided comments on the sickening story of a Belgian criminal euthanized at the end of February, 2023. His words provide exceptional insight into the ever slippery slope of assisted suicide. Read his insight below:

 

This story I find astonishing. 13 years ago this Belgian woman murdered her five children, presumably due to a mental illness, after which she failed in an attempt to take her own life. She was given a life sentence, in a psychiatric hospital. Now, her unsuccessful suicide 16 years ago is being completed by physicians, as she qualifies as having an “unbearable” psychiatric condition. Due to her life imprisonment creating an unrelenting circumstance, along with a mental condition, she qualifies in Belgium for voluntary medical euthanasia. Perversely, one Belgian psychologist called this “a symbolic gesture in respect for her children.”

This is yet another illustration of how, once the door is opened to euthanasia, initially for a select few suffering extreme terminal illness, the slope will slip, and slip, and slip. We end up with facilitated suicide for profoundly ill people who commit terrible crimes. This way, an “enlightened society” that wishes to avoid capital punishment can dress it up as compassionate, progressive respect for autonomy and “death with dignity.”

 

Mark S. Komrad M.D., DFAPA, ACP
Faculty of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland, Tulane

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