Revista Española de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1135-5727
SIMON LORDA, Pablo and BARRIO CANTALEJO, Inés M.. Euthanasia in Belgium. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2012, vol.86, n.1, pp. 5-19. ISSN 1135-5727. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1135-57272012000100002.
The experience of the Netherlands in relation with the legalization and practice of euthanasia is better known in Spain than the Belgian experience in this matter. But the historical process of social debate in Belgium has many specific details which should be known by Spanish hehcare professionals, bioethicists, politicians and lawyers. This paper begins with a comparative analysis of both countries: Spain and Belgium and follows with a description of the milestones of the historical process of debating and, finally, passing the Belgian Law on Euthanasia in 2002. The next chapter consists of a description of the main contents of this important Law. The paper continues then with an approach to the epidemiology of the practice of euthanasia in Belgium and finishes with a description of the different positions of the actors of the process. Two positions are described more in depth: the opinion of the specialists in palliative care, and the opinion of the Catholic Church. The paper ends underlining the reason for the incorporation of the Belgian experience on euthanasia to the debate about the possibility of legalizing euthanasia in Spain.
Keywords : Euthanasia; Suicide, assisted; Bioethics; Palliative care; Living will; Advance directives; Ethics committees; History of medicine; Legislation and jurisprudence.