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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Belgian doctors on trial for certifying heartbroken woman as autistic so she could get a lethal injection

26 November 2018

Tine Nys (centre, with her sisters Lotte and Sophie)​ was given a lethal injection at the age of 38, just two months after being diagnosed with autism.

The first such prosecution since euthanasia was legalised in 2002.

In another horrifying example of the consequences of Belgium's euthanasia laws, three doctors are facing trial accused of certifying a woman as autistic so that she could die by euthanasia.

Tine Nys died by lethal injection in 2010, at the age of 38. She had told two doctors and a psychiatrist that her suffering was 'unbearable and incurable' so that she could qualify for euthanasia under Belgian law.

No treatment attempted, just death

However, her family say that her suffering was down to a broken heart after the end of a relationship, not autism. Moreover, they say the law was broken because Ms Nys was never treated for autism and so it had not been established that her suffering was "incurable". She died only two months after the diagnosis of autism was made, and the last treatment she had received for psychological problems was 15 years prior to her death. 

Ms Nys' sisters Lotte and Sophie have accused the doctors of making a rushed decision without treating her for autism. They are facing trial for failing to comply with euthanasia laws and poisoning, in the first such case since euthanasia was legalised in Belgium in 2002. 

No-one is safe

Ghent prosecutors moved just days after a similar case in The Netherlands, another country with notoriously lax euthanasia laws. There, a doctor who secretly drugged a 74 year old dementia patient's coffee before getting her relatives to hold her down while she administered a lethal injection is finally being prosecuted

In a warning to the rest of the world, these two countries provide examples of how the most vulnerable groups in society are put at risk when euthanasia is legalised. In Belgium, three children were killed by euthanasia in 2016 and 2017. In Flanders, 10% of cancer patients are euthanised, some without consent. This year, the Netherlands allowed a 29 year old woman with mental illnesses to die by assisted suicide. 

Alcoholics, sex-abuse victims, and dementia sufferers also qualify and have died in these countries. When these most vulnerable groups are "helped" to die, it is clear that no one is safe.

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  • Richard Raymond

    27 November 2018, 7:34pm

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