This is a talk given on the 1st December by Dr Léopold Vanbellingen of the European Institute of Bioethics (IEB) in Brussels.

Léopold Vanbellingen works as Research officer at the European Institute of Bioethics (IEB) in Brussels. Founded in 2001, the IEB has set itself the goal of contributing to the elaboration of bioethics based on the respect for and protection of each human being, from conception until natural death. The IEB seeks to inform, enlighten and raise the awareness of the general public and political decision makers on bioethical risks and related social issues. It focuses on the situation on Belgium and, more broadly, in Europe, regarding abortion, assisted reproduction, end of life, biomedical research and freedom of conscience.Léopold Vanbellingen is also currently completing a PhD thesis in Law and Religion at the Université catholique de Louvain. His thesis focuses on religious diversity in the workplace, including the issue of conscientious objection by employees.

Abstract of the communication:
In this presentation, we will first come back to the initial objectives and promises of the euthanasia laws in Belgium and in the Netherlands, and then compare its alleged safeguards against abuses with the current reality of euthanasia today. First, we will see how these initial safeguards are actually applied in practice by physicians and have been interpreted by the control commission. We will also look at the gradual extension of the euthanasia laws to new types of cases that were considered unconceivable at the outset.