Final arguments submitted in euthanasia case at top European court

Belgian euthanasia law fails to protect the fundamental right to life, according to a legal brief filed with the European Court of Human Rights.

The filing on behalf of Tom Mortier identifies clear violations of the law in the case of his mother who was euthanized by lethal injection in 2012.

ADF International argues that International law has never established a so-called ‘right to die.’

“On the contrary, it solidly affirms the right to life – particularly for the most vulnerable among us,” said Robert Clarke, Deputy Director of ADF International and lead counsel for Tom Mortier.

“One look at the tragic facts of this case exposes the lie that euthanasia is good for society. The sick, suffering, elderly, and vulnerable in our society deserve the utmost respect and care. As this case reaches its final stage, we hope that it will bring Tom some small measure of justice, and help protect others”.

The Belgian law specifies that the person must be in a ‘medically futile condition of constant and unbearable physical or mental suffering that cannot be alleviated, resulting from a serious and incurable disorder caused by illness or accident.’ Tom’s mother was physically healthy, and her treating psychiatrist of more than 20 years did not believe that she satisfied the legal requirements of the Belgian euthanasia law. Nonetheless, she was euthanized in 2012 by an oncologist with no known psychiatric qualifications.

Mortier was informed the day after his mother had been euthanized with the explanation that she had been suffering with ‘untreatable depression’.

Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002. In 2014, the law was amended to include children with no lower age limit. The youngest child to be euthanized in Belgium was only 9 years old. Between 2003 and 2018 the number of people euthanised grew by about 1000%.