Proposed Belgian Law Would Allow Parent-Approved Euthanasia for Children

  • Amanda Casanova Contributor
  • Published Feb 14, 2014
Proposed Belgian Law Would Allow Parent-Approved Euthanasia for Children

Under a new proposed law in Belgium, parents and a terminally ill child can decide if the child should be euthanized.

The Belgium parliament legalized euthanasia for children of any age, but critics are worried that the European government has gone too far.

“"It is death," said Marie Schwarz, a mother of four and pro-life protestor. "It is not a pain killer."

The bill was adopted by the lower house of the Belgian Parliament and will now go to King Philippe to be signed into law.

Three doctors and a psychologist have to evaluate the child first and decide if the child is aware of the consequences of euthanasia. The child would have to be experiencing constant and unbearable suffering. Supporters say the legalization is necessary.

"That whole period of sedation, you always need to give more and more medication, and you start asking questions. And you say, 'What's the use of keeping this baby alive?' said Linda van Roy, a Belgium mother who lost her terminally ill baby more than two years ago.

The Catholic Church has stage a day of fasting and prayer in protest.

"We are opening a door that nobody will be able to close," Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels Andre Leonard said.

Said a local Catholic church in a statement: "To stop the euthanasia train" is all that is required by the Community of Sant'Egidio … In the ever-increasing legal possibilities to recourse to euthanasia, we see rather a new form of barbarism: the choice acclaimed by society of the self-elimination of sick and weak people.”

The Netherland was the first to legalize euthanasia in 2002 for seriously sick patients 12 and older. Children over 12 can request euthanasia with parental consent. Since 2002, only five have ever done so.