Debate in Belgium: do Church-related institutions have 'conscience clause' protection on euthanasia?
January 04, 2016
Archbishop Jozef De Kesel of Brussels is strongly resisting the argument that Catholic health-care institutions have no legal right to refuse involvement in euthanasia.
Belgium’s euthanasia law provides a “conscience clause” that allows doctors to avoid involvement. But the legislation does not make any explicit provision for religious institutions. That question has emerged in public debate along with reports that a Catholic nursing home has refused to allow a doctor to euthanize a terminal-cancer patient at the facility.
Defenders of the Catholic facility have pointed out that the Belgian law does not actually assert a positive legal right to euthanasia; the legislation merely guarantees that doctors who assist a willing patient in dying will not be prosecuted.