The state of euthanasia in Europe

The state of euthanasia in Europe

PARIS - French legislation introduced Friday to ease restrictions on doctor-assisted death risks further diversifying the range of clashing national laws on euthenasia across Europe.

Following is a round-up of the state of current euthanasia regulations in Europe.

LEGALISED

In THE NETHERLANDS, active, direct euthanasia has been legal since April 2002. Requested administration of a drug in lethal doses is authorised if patients make the request while fully mentally lucid.

They must also endure unbearable and endless suffering from a condition diagnosed as incurable by at least two doctors.

The Netherlands has also authorised euthanasia for children younger than 12 under strict conditions.

BELGIUM lifted restrictions on euthanasia in September 2002 for patients facing constant, unbearable and untreatable physical or psychic suffering; aged 18 or over; and who request termination of life in a voluntary, deliberated and repeated manner free from coercion.

Provisions for doctor-assisted death in cases that meet those criteria may also be stipulated in "living wills" written by healthy people before they fall ill, and which remain valid for five years.

In February 2014, Belgium became the first country to authorise children to request euthanasia if they suffer a terminal disease, and understand the consequences of the act.

In LUXEMBOURG, a text legalising euthanasia in certain terminal cases was approved in March 2009. It excludes minors.

AUTHORISED OR TOLERATED

SWITZERLAND is one of the rare countries that allows assisted suicide by patients administering a lethal dose of medication themselves.

Switzerland does not allow active, direct euthanasia by a third party, but tolerates the provision of substances to relieve suffering even if death is a possible side-effect.

Passive euthanasia, or the halting of medical procedures that maintain life, is also tolerated.

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