Euthanasia cases reach a record in Belgium in 2021

A report shows that there were 2,699 deaths from euthanasia in 2021, an increase of 10.39%. Most of them were performed at home to patients over 70.

Evangelical Focus

Belgian Federal Control and Evaluation Commission on Euthanasia , · BRUSSELS · 21 APRIL 2022 · 13:55 CET

Brussels, Belgium. /  <a target="_blank" href="">TE LUN OU YANG</a>, Unsplash, CC0,
Brussels, Belgium. / TE LUN OU YANG, Unsplash, CC0

According to the new report recently published by the Belgian Federal Control and Evaluation Commission on Euthanasia (CFCEE), 2,699 people died from euthanasia in 2021 in Belgium.

“The number of registered euthanasias increased by 10.39% compared to the previous year (2445 in 2020)”, points out the CFCEE.

While in 2020 the number of euthanasia cases had exceptionally fallen by 10% due to the pandemic, the 2021 figures are the highest since euthanasia was legalised in Belgium in 2002.

Scientists warn that these figures might be even higher, because it is estimated that between 25% to 35% of assisted suicides are not reported.


50 cases due to mental and behavioural disorders

The report states that “the main conditions for which euthanasia was requested were either cancers or a combination of several conditions (polypathologies) that were not likely to improve and that were increasingly causing serious disabilities and even organ failure”.

Requests for euthanasia “on the basis of mental and behavioural disorders remain marginal (1.9% of all euthanasias, 24 cases for psychiatric disorders and 26 for dementia)”, adds the CFCEE.

Euthanasia cases reach a record in Belgium in 2021

Evolution of euthanasia cases. / CFCEE


Patients over 70 and at home

Regarding the age, a third (32.2%) of people who officially died by euthanasia were under the age of 70, but over 40, because “euthanasia in patients under 40 years of age remains very infrequent (1.4%)”. The largest group of patients is in the 80 to 89 age group (29.3%).

The CFCEE also underlines that “no euthanasia of unemancipated minors was registered in 2021”

Furthermore, as in previous years, most of the euthanasias took place at home (54.3%) and in hospitals (29.6%), and “the number of euthanasias in rest homes and nursing homes (14.3%) is increasing slightly”.

The figures show that there are more assisted suicides among the Flemish population than the Walloon, because 74.3% of euthanasia requests are written in Dutch, compared to 25.7% in French, a proportion which remains stable compared to 2020.


Euthanasia in Europe

In addition to Belgium, euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands and Luxembourg for many years, but the number of European countries that have recently legalised euthanasia has risen to five with Spain and Austria,

Meanwhile, in Portugal, the veto of the country’s President blocked a law that had already been approved by the Parliament, and the Italian Constitutional Court recently blocked the petition of an euthanasia referendum.

You can se the full report here (In French).

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