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Do you agree with child euthanasia?

Posted by on Feb. 13, 2014 at 4:46 PM
  • 138 Replies

Parliament in Belgium has passed a bill allowing euthanasia for terminally ill children without any age limit, by 86 votes to 44, with 12 abstentions.

When, as expected, the bill is signed by the king, Belgium will become the first country in the world to remove any age limit on the practice.

It may be requested by terminally ill children who are in great pain and also have parental consent.

Opponents argue children cannot make such a difficult decision.

It is twelve years since Belgium legalised euthanasia for adults.

In the Netherlands, Belgium's northern neighbour, euthanasia is legal for children over the age of 12, if there is parental consent.

Conditions for child euthanasia

  • Patient must be conscious of their decision
  • Request must be approved by parents and medical team
  • Illness must be terminal
  • Patient must be in great pain with no treatment available to alleviate their distress

Under the Dutch conditions, a patient's request for euthanasia can be fulfilled by a doctor if the request is "voluntary and well-considered" and the patient is suffering unbearably, with no prospect of improvement.

'Immoral' law

One man in the public gallery of Belgium's parliament shouted "murderers" in French when the vote was passed, Reuters news agency reports.

Supporters of the legislation argue that in practice the law will affect an extremely small number of children, who would probably be in their teens, the BBC's Duncan Crawford reports from Brussels.

The law states a child would have to be terminally ill, face "unbearable physical suffering" and make repeated requests to die - before euthanasia is considered.

Parents, doctors and psychiatrists would have to agree before a decision is made.

Protesters have lobbied politicians against the changes.

Church leaders argued the law is immoral.

"The law says adolescents cannot make important decisions on economic or emotional issues, but suddenly they've become able to decide that someone should make them die," Brussels Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, head of the Catholic Church in Belgium, said at a prayer vigil last week.

Some paediatricians have warned vulnerable children could be put at risk and have questioned whether a child can really be expected to make such a difficult choice.

Last week 160 Belgian paediatricians signed an open letter against the law, claiming that there was no urgent need for it and that modern medicine is capable of alleviating pain.

But opinion polls have suggested broad support for the changes in Belgium, which is mostly Catholic.

Would you support such a law?

by on Feb. 13, 2014 at 4:46 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by Gold Member on Feb. 13, 2014 at 4:49 PM

No I do not agree

by on Feb. 13, 2014 at 4:51 PM
6 moms liked this
Sure there are medicines to take away pain. But is it a life if a 13 year old is asleep for 23:45 a day due to the pain killers?

I can't even comprehend what I would do, but sitting here on my couch having green tea I don't think I would want that for my son. I would rather remember him as the boy who spent an hour doing the imperial march up and down the stairs rather than a child who is in so much pain he has to be kept sedated and fed through an iv.
by Ruby Member on Feb. 13, 2014 at 4:53 PM
by Bronze Member on Feb. 13, 2014 at 4:55 PM
1 mom liked this
I don't even know... Part of me wants to scream HELL NO!!! But the other part wants to say "why give the right to an adult but not a child suffering just as much?" I hope I'm never faced with a decision like this.
by Silver Member on Feb. 13, 2014 at 4:56 PM
2 moms liked this
I agree with it. I think every human in that situation should be able to dictate their wishes regarding their own life.
by Member on Feb. 13, 2014 at 4:56 PM
1 mom liked this

Yes, I agree with it.

by on Feb. 13, 2014 at 4:56 PM
2 moms liked this

I pretty much agree with this, as the article states it. Of course, thinking about a child being conscious of wanting death...I can barely even think about that. 

But if I had a child with a terminal, incredibly painful disease, with no treatment options - euthenasia would probably seem to be the most humane and loving option. But I don't know, because I'm not in that situation, thank the universe. 

But parents and children who are should have that choice. 

by on Feb. 13, 2014 at 4:58 PM
1 mom liked this
No, I would not give up on my child
by shellbark on Feb. 13, 2014 at 4:59 PM
1 mom liked this
I do agree with it. It's sad but I do think a terminally ill child is fully capable of deciding if they want to die by their illness or on their own terms.
by Gold Member on Feb. 13, 2014 at 5:08 PM


I guess if there's no hope of giving them even a few precious moments of relief and joy I'd support it.   But I'd require that the child or parent actually administer the drug,   not a medical professional.  

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