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Belgium’s euthanasia law, now for children …

  • February 15th, 2014
  • Posted by EU Australia

Bxl  flag mapThe legal right to have your life ended has been given to terminally ill children in Belgium.

The national parliament voted late on Thursday, 86-44, with 12 abstentions, to extend an existing law for adult sufferers of terminal illness, and it is to come into effect after receiving Royal assent.

Bxl childs wardThe new provisions are for children enduring great pain with no alleviating treatments to hand. They will require parental consent, and the judgment of a panel of three doctors and a psychologist that the patient is properly aware of what is happening.

Supporters said it was a humane move which would directly affect a very small number of  people.

Bxl euthanasiaThe law was vocally opposed both on moral grounds, in a country with a clear Catholic majority, and also because of anxiety about the capacity of children to make life-altering decisions.

Opponents included a group of 160 paedatricians who argued that advances in palliative care made the change unnecessary, and parents of sick children wanting the decision to be kept out of question.

Belgian society harbours a strong tradition of liberal thought, emphatic about securing individual rights of choice, shared with The Netherlands.

Laws permitting euthanasia or assisted suicide, in cases of extreme suffering, are in force in both countries, and in Luxembourg, Switzerland, and four states of the United States of America.

Reference

BBC News, London, Belgium’s parliament votes through child euthanasia, 13.2.14. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26181615, (14.2.14).
Wikipedia, SF, Legality of euthanasia.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_euthanasia, (15.2.14).

Pictures  npr.org, wikipedia, yelp

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