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Thursday, 16 May, 2002, 19:06 GMT 20:06 UK
Belgium legalises euthanasia
Breaking News
The Belgian parliament has passed law partially legalising euthanasia.

Belgium has became the second country in the world to do so, after the Netherlands.

After two days of heated debate, the lower house of the Belgian parliament endorsed the bill by 86 votes in favour, 51 against and with 10 abstentions.

The result was widely expected following the Belgian Senate's approval of the law last October.

The Belgian law - like the in the Netherlands - sets out strict conditions governing assisted suicide.

Once the law goes into effect, a doctor who carries out a mercy killing will not be guilty of having committed a crime if the patient is terminally ill and has made the decision themselves.

Critics of the legislation say it does not do enough to safeguard against abuses of the law.


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