The Belgium Law
In September 2002, Belgium became the second country in the world to pass VE legislation, much to the disgust of their influential Catholic clergy. Belgium’s law is similar to that of the Netherlands, though there several key differences.
Belgium is unique in that it provides all patients with access to free painkilling medication. This is to ensure that no patient requests VE as a result of their poverty, or because their pain cannot be treated. Also, if a person is not in the terminal stages of their illness, a third medical opinion needs to be sought.
Lastly, patients must be over eighteen years of age. As the Belgian Socialist Senator Philippe Mahoux has said, a dying person in pain is ‘the only judge of their quality of life and the dignity of their last moments’