Belgium Makes Euthanasia Legal for Kids
Lawmakers remove age restrictions on 'right-to-die' rule
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2014 3:00 PM CST
Journalists look at the electronic voting board as Belgian politicians vote in favor of the bill on child euthanasia.   (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

(Newser) – Terminally ill children in Belgium can request to be put to death under legislation approved by the nation's lawmakers today, reports the BBC. Belgium already has a law that makes euthanasia legal for adults, and today's action removes any age restrictions. It's the first country to do so, though the Netherlands allows euthanasia for kids as young as 12, notes Reuters. The rules set out a number of restrictions: The request must come from a child with a terminal illness who is enduring "constant and unbearable physical suffering," and parents, doctors, and psychologists must support the request. (The AP lays out the specific steps here.)

Supporters say it's the humane thing to do, while critics say kids aren't capable of making that kind of a decision. Two competing quotes from today:

  • Pro: "This is not about lethal injections for children," says one of the backing lawmakers. "This is about terminally ill children, whose death is imminent and who suffer greatly. There are clear checks and balances to prevent abuse."
  • Con: "Assassins!" yelled a spectator from the gallery as the vote unfolded.

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Feb 14, 2014 1:18 PM CST
In Belgium, liberalism is considered terminal cancer, of the rectum. Now there's a law I could get behind.
Stortz John
Feb 14, 2014 2:23 AM CST
How'd Obamacare miss this?
Feb 14, 2014 1:43 AM CST
I have no words for this crazy world. No one wants to believe in God but there's no short supply of those who want to play Him. Don't teach our children to be strong in the face of pain, just teach them to give up. Don't teach them to fight or struggle to survive in this life. Yeah, that's much better than believing in God or even yourself. Right? Wow!