After being legalized eight years ago, euthanasia is becoming increasingly frequent in Belgium, according to a recent study by the Flemish-speaking Free University of Brussels (Vrije Universiteit Brussel or VUB).
The number of requests for euthanasia have almost tripled since 2003, when 235 patients reportedly asked to be killed. The number rose to 428 in 2006, 495 in 2007, and 705 in 2008, according to the latest statistic gathered in the study.
The largest group requesting euthanasia is young male cancer victims, although 18 percent are people over the age of 80. Over 6.5 percent are people who are not in the final stages of their lives, but are mostly victims of degenerative neuromuscular diseases.
The majority of euthanasia recipients are killed in their homes by the administration of barbiturates and muscle relaxants.
Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002 for all adults whose illnesses cause “‘constant and unbearable physical or psychological pain” and who are capable of giving consent.
According to Belgian pro-life activist Lionel Roosemont, interviewed by LifeSiteNews last year, euthanasia in Belgium often exceeds the legal limits, and doctors eliminate patients who have never given consent, based on their own personal criteria.
Roosemont told LSN that he had to fight to protect his own daughter from being euthanized, because she was born with a severe birth defect.