Euthanasia for Kids: Belgium Is Considering It
Would be an unprecedented law
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2013 10:49 AM CDT
Belgium considers an unprecedented law.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – It's a jarring headline and a difficult debate: Belgium is currently weighing a bill that would legalize the euthanasia of children. It would obviously require the parents' OK, and apply only to those situations where the child is in what the AP calls a "desperately painful situation." Proponents say it boils down to compassion. Still, the law would be an unprecedented one, though the Netherlands permits euthanasia among children over age 12 who fit tight requirements.

The bill is facing some tough opposition, with the Christian Democratic Flemish party promising to take its fight against it all the way to the European Court of Human Rights. The main argument: Children lack the capacity to make a decision of this magnitude. One Catholic archbishop has argued that "palliative sedation," where patients are sedated and removed from life support, renders euthanasia unnecessary; but the AP points out death in that process comes by way of starvation, which can take days. Euthanasia among adults has been legal for more than a decade in Belgium, though this bill, proposed by the ruling Socialist party, would also expand the law there and extend the right to die to adults with early dementia. A final decision must be approved by Parliament and could take months.

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Nov 4, 2013 7:02 AM CST
After Terri Schiavo died in agony after being denied nutrition, my opinion on euthanasia have solidified. Starving a terminal patient to death is inhumane and counter to what this country claims to stand for. After all, we put our sick animals to sleep to avoid suffering, but torture our sick friends and family.
Nov 1, 2013 12:14 PM CDT
Nov 1, 2013 7:25 AM CDT
We've been down this road before. Anyone remember Germany and WWII? And don't comment that "it's not the same issue". It is too, because Hitler and the Nazi party Euthanized thousands of young people because of health issues. We repeat history because, 1) we refuse to study real history and 2) even when we do read history, we think we can do it better and won't repeat the "mistakes" of past generations. Unfortunately, we not only repeat them, we double up on the horror.