Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dutch pediatricians want to legalise euthanasia for children under 12 years old.

This article was originally posted on the Living with Dignity blog on July 14, 2014.

Belgium adopted euthanasia for children a few months ago. Anneke Stoffelen tells us in Volksrant that pediatricians in the Netherlands now suggest legalizing euthanasia for children under the age of 12. This suggestion is particularly worrying because the decision for euthanasia would be made by doctors and parents, without needing the consent of the child. We are talking about legalizing involuntary euthanasia.

The Netherlands currently allows euthanasia of newborns (up to the age of one year old). And children over 12 years old are considered competent to make that decision. If they are between the ages of 12 and 16, they must have the permission of a parent to agree to euthanasia.

Of course, they always talk about euthanasia being only for people who are seriously ill, or who have serious birth defects. But there are many abuses of the rules of legal euthanasia in the Netherlands, such as the case of the 45 psychiatric patients euthanized last year. No safeguard can truly ensure that there will be no abuse.

Dutch Professor of Pediatrics Eduard Verhagen said: 
"We all do it, so why draw the line for children up to 12 years old?"
One can find some logic to his argument. In fact, those who support euthanasia in Quebec have already used a similar argument and asked to include minors and incompetent people in Act 52. They used the argument that to exclude these groups would be discriminatory, and would constitute an incomplete answer to the original question.

This indicates that the expansion of laws permitting euthanasia is inevitable. We must stop it before it starts.

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