Cultural differences affecting euthanasia practice in Belgium: One law but…By Social Science and Medicine
Publication year: 2012Source:Social Science & Medicine, Volume 75, Issue 5Joachim Cohen, Yanna Van Wesemael, Tinne Smets, Johan Bilsen, Luc Deliens Since 2002, Belgium has had a national law legalising euthanasia. The law prescribes several substantive due care requirements and two procedural due care requirements, i.e. consultation with an independent physician and reporting of euthanasia to a Federal Control Committee. A large discrepancy in reporting rates between the Dutch-speaking (Flanders) and the French-speaking (Wallonia) parts of Belgium has led to speculation about cultural differences affecting the practice of euthanasia in both regions. Using Belgian data from the European Values Study conducted in 2008 among a representative sample of the general public and data from a large-scale mail questionnaire survey on euthanasia of 480 physicians from Flanders and 305 from Wallonia (conducted in 2009), this study presents empirical evidence of differences between both regions in attitudes towards and practice of euthanasia.