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The Belgian parliament is debating a controversial new bill, which would extend the country’s law on euthanasia to terminally ill people aged under 18.
It would become the only country in the world to grant children the right to choose to die. Euthanasia for adults was legalised in Belgium in 2002.
Advocates argue that euthanasia for minors, with the consent of their parents, should be an option in exceptional cases.
Paediatrician Dr. Geirland van Beirlant said: “When the situation occurs we have to perform euthanasia in secret. We cannot write down what really happened. Things happen in secret, cannot be monitored, cannot be adjusted. As doctors, we want to give the best cure possible.”
A group of paediatricians published an open letter in Belgian newspapers this week asking politicians to support the bill, but many MPs remain bitterly opposed.