Magazine October 17, 2011, Issue

Western Suttee

An assisted-suicide kit (Stefan Wermuth/Reuters)
Against a ‘right’ to be killed

On March 30 of this year, a team of doctors euthanized a Belgian couple, at their request. The 83-year-old man suffered from terminal prostate cancer. His 78-year-old wife, although suffering from severe rheumatism, was not terminally ill. But she did not want to live without her husband. This became the first official, public instance of co-euthanasia in Western Europe. The death announcement that relatives placed in the newspaper stated that they “choose to end it together.”

Euthanasia is legal in the Low Countries under two conditions: The request must be made by an adult of sound mind, and the patient must

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