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74% of Belgian mental suffering euthanised were women

29 August 2016

Media Statement

They’re killing psychiatric patients in Belgium and the Netherlands – and most of them are women

Two recent papers in medical journals highlight a worrying aspect of euthanasia in Belgium and the Netherlands, according to Wendi Wicks, convenor of Not Dead Yet Aotearoa.

“Most of the psychiatric patients being killed are women. So what’s going on-why are there so many disabled women dying?”

The British Medical Journal paper by Dr Thiesnpont – a psychiatrist personally involved in euthanasia - revealed that 74 percent of Belgian patients euthanised for mental suffering were women.

The paper goes on to observe “the concept of ‘unbearable suffering’ has not yet been defined adequately, and that views on this concept are in a state of flux.”

“The attitude seems to be that they’ll just keep killing until they’ve figured it out. It doesn’t give confidence when terms that can’t be properly defined are used in laws to end life. Assurances of fully informed choice are just an illusion ” says Ms Wicks.

The JAMA Psychiatry paper by Dr Kim showed 70 percent of Dutch cases were women, and that ‘Most had personality disorders and were described as socially isolated or lonely.’ We already know that disabled people are greatly at risk from euthanasia-assisted suicide and these studies highlight that it’s even more risky for any women.

Ms Wicks says that these findings should be ringing alarm bells around the world. “The Dutch and Belgian societies are turning their backs on mentally-ill women, and are quite happy for them to die out of hand. Assurances of informed choice and stringent safeguards to laws for euthanasia or assisted suicide in NZ are as hollow here as they are elsewhere.”

ENDS


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