Euthanasia more than doubles in northern Belgium: Study
More than 1,800 cases of euthanasia were recorded in Belgium in 2013.

Euthanasia deaths in the Flemish region of Belgium have more than doubled over the past half-dozen years, reaching 4.6 percent of 61,621 deaths in 2013, a study by the universities of Ghent and Brussels reveals.

In 2007, 1,9 percent of 54,881 deaths in the Flemish region of Belgium were caused by euthanasia.

University of Ghent said in a statement on Tuesday: "The reasons for the doubling are two-fold. On the one hand, an increasing number of people are requesting euthanasia; on the other, physicians are more willing to honor those requests."

While the report said the increasing figures indicate "societal acceptance" of euthanasia, it didn't specify why more people would intentionally want to end their lives.

Euthanasia is still mostly performed in cancer patients, the highly educated and those between the ages of 65 and 79 years, according to the University of Ghent.

Belgium sparked controversy in February 2014 when the Belgian parliament passed a law allowing terminally ill children and their parents to request euthanasia -- without any age limit.

Critics argued that the bill was immoral and that children could not make the decision of ending their lives.

In 2002, Belgium became the second country after The Netherlands to legalize euthanasia and 1,807 cases of euthanasia were recorded in Belgium in 2013.

Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg are the only European countries where euthanasia is legal.

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Last Modified: 2015-03-18 08:35:50
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