In this last week both Belgium and the Netherlands have taken major steps towards euthanasia for children.
A consensus among members of the Belgian Federal Parliament has reportedly formed in support of legislation to allow children to choose to undergo euthanasia in certain dire cases, according to a report in the Belgian daily newspaper Der Morgen, as translated by the Paris-based news agency Presseurop.
If child euthanasia is legalized in Belgium, the country would become the first in the developed world to have a law on the books formally allowing the practice.
Belgium became the second country in the world after the Netherlands to legalize euthanasia in 2002, but the statute currently extends only to people 18 or older.
The bill, introduced by the Socialist party last December, lays out guidelines for doctors to decide on a case-by-case basis whether or not a child is mature enough to make the decision to end his or her own life, as well as whether a child’s health is grave and hopeless enough to warrant euthanasia.
It marks a turning point in the nation’s approach to the rights of young people, some of whom would be able to choose to die if the law were to pass, even while still being legally barred from driving, marrying, voting or drinking liquor until they turned 18.
The bill would also likely allow euthanasia for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and other diseases leading to advanced dementia, who may otherwise be deemed incompetent to make the decision to die. There were 1,133 cases of euthanasia recorded in Belgium in 2011, accounting for about 1 percent of the country’s deaths that year, according to AFP.
Peter Deconinck, president of the Belgian medical ethics organization Reflectiegroep Biomedische Ethiek, has come out in support of expanding the practice to minors, as has the head of the intensive care unit of Fabiola Hospital in Brussels, who testified before a Belgian Senate committee.
“We all know that euthanasia is already practiced on children,” he told the committee. “Yes, active euthanasia.”
A majority of members of the Belgian Parliament are reportedly ready to pass the child euthanasia bill.
Of the 175,000 babies born every year in The Netherlands, the KNMG suggests that about 650 might be cases which would be worthy of euthanasia.
These disturbing latest developments in the two countries which were the first to legalise euthanasia in Europe demonstrate graphically the incremental extension that takes place once the door is opened and the public conscience begins to change.
It is bitterly ironic that child euthanasia is happening again seventy years later on the very same grounds in two countries that share a common border with Germany.
With special thanks to http://www.lifesitenews.com