A man whose mother was killed by her oncologist in Belgium after the doctor determined she had “untreatable depression” and she had donated about $2,800 to his foundation, is appealing to the European Court of Human Rights.
Tom Mortier’s mother, Godelieva De Troyer, was killed in a legal euthanasia in 2012 by oncologist Wim Distelmans after the diagnosis.
The physician then later informed her children that she was dead and asked them about funeral arrangements.
But she was not terminally ill, a requirement in the euthanasia law. And she donated to Distelmans foundation, the End Life Information Forum, one day prior to her death.
“International law has never established a so-called ‘right to die.’ On the contrary, it solidly affirms the right to life – particularly for the most vulnerable among us,” said Mortier’s attorney, Robert Clarke, the director of European advocacy for the Alliance Defending Freedom International.
“We welcome the decision of the court to hear this precedent-setting case, the sad facts of which expose the lie that euthanasia is good for society.”
WND reported in 2014 that Mortier found out about his mother’s death when the doctor called to ask him for final-arrangement instructions, since he had just killed the “depressed” woman.
Later, when Belgium refused to pursue a case against Distelmans, a petition was submitted to the ECHR.
De Troyer’s own personal physician had refused her request to die, because she did not qualify under the law by being terminally ill. She was just depressed.
At issue is whether that requirement makes Distelmans actions a criminal offense.
Mortier is arguing the right to life and the right to family life are protected under the European Convention on Human Rights. Belgian law allows assisted suicide to be carried out if physicians have determined the person is experiencing “constant and unbearable physical or mental suffering that cannot be alleviated.”
The petition to the court explained: “After his mother’s death, the applicant found her farewell letter which stated how much she had missed her children and grandchildren in addition to referring to the breakup with her partner. She indicated feelings of helplessness, sadness and frustration at having not built a bond with her children.
“In the circumstances, it is therefore understandable that the possibility of contacting her children was discussed with her a number of times. Given that the applicant’s mother refused her permission for her children to be contacted, the physicians had a duty to refuse consent for euthanasia,” the petition stated.
“Because the suffering of the appellant’s mother was partly caused by her loneliness and the lost contact with her children and grandchildren, it seems that contact with the children is essential in order to establish that she was in a medically hopeless situation having constant and unbearable suffering that could not be healed. By her own refusal to address part of the reason for her condition, she placed herself outside of the provisions of the Belgian law which requires ‘constant and unbearable physical or mental suffering that cannot be alleviated.'”
The oncologist has been a promoter of euthanasia in Belgium.
“The big problem in our society is that, apparently, we have lost the meaning of taking care of each other,” said Mortier. “My mother had a severe mental problem. She had to cope with depression throughout her life. She was treated for years by psychiatrists, and eventually the contact between us was broken. A year later, she received a lethal injection. Neither the oncologist, who administered the injection, nor the hospital had informed me or any of my siblings that our mother was even considering euthanasia.”
“The slippery slope is on full public display in Belgium, and we see the tragic consequences in this case,” said ADF International Executive Director Paul Coleman. “According to the most recent government report, more than six people per day are killed in this way, and that may yet be the tip of the iceberg. The figures expose the truth that, once these laws are passed, the impact of euthanasia cannot be controlled. Belgium has set itself on a trajectory that, at best, implicitly tells its most vulnerable that their lives are not worth living.”
When Belgium first adopted euthanasia, government officials promised it would be well regulated. But after 15 years, the number of annual cases has exploded 760 percent.
The country went further still in 2014 by allowing the procedure to be done to children.