Pope or­ders end to eu­thana­sia of­fer

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

LON­DON — Pope Fran­cis has or­dered a Bel­gian Catholic char­ity to stop of­fer­ing eu­thana­sia in its psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tals.

In May, the Broth­ers of Char­ity group an­nounced it would al­low doc­tors to per­form eu­thana­sia at its 15 psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tals in Bel­gium, one of only two coun­tries — along with the Nether­lands — where doc­tors are legally al­lowed to kill peo­ple with men­tal-health prob­lems, at their re­quest.

To qual­ify, peo­ple must be in a state of “un­bear­able suf­fer­ing” and at least three doc­tors, in­clud­ing one psy­chi­a­trist, must be con­sulted.

The char­ity said in a state­ment that eu­thana­sia would be per­formed only if there were “no rea­son­able treat­ment al­ter­na­tives” and that such re­quests would be con­sid­ered with “the great­est cau­tion.”

“We re­spect the free­dom of doc­tors to carry out eu­thana­sia or not,” the group said, not­ing that this free­dom was “guar­an­teed by law.”

The Vat­i­can press of­fice said this week that the pope had asked the Bel­gians not to per­form eu­thana­sia.

AP/AR­MANDO FRANCA

Peo­ple flee a wild­fire ap­proach­ing a vil­lage Fri­day in cen­tral Portugal af­ter winds and warmer weather Thurs­day rekin­dled blazes in the coun­try. One fire in June killed 64 peo­ple.

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