Two Senate committees in Belgium have voted and approved a proposal to introduce the right to grant euthanasia for terminally ill children.
The proposed law, which still has to go to a vote of the full parliament, would make Belgium the first country in the world to remove the age limit for the procedure.
Opponents question whether terminally ill children can reasonably decide to end their own lives. Some argue that it’s too much pressure to put on a child.
Elke Sleurs, Belgian Senate member for the N-VA party and president of the committee for social affairs, told euronews: “Some people say that it is a choice between euthanasia or palliative care, but that of course is not true. It is just a final option that a minor who is terminally ill will say ‘now I have too much pain, there is no way that we can relieve the pain, I would like to die now.’ And that is the possibility that we have given, in certain circumstances.”
Francis Delpérée , Belgian politician and a member of the cdH, said: “We talking about an underage child who is at the end of his or her life. The question we are asking is whether, at a time like this, we can burden him or her with an another psychological issue: daddy, mummy, you gave me life now I am asking you to take it away.”
Belgium is already one of the world’s most liberal countries
when it comes to euthanasia, making it available to adults who
are not terminally ill.
The Netherlands allows the practice for children as young as 12, but only five cases have been recorded since 2002.
In Europe, euthanasia is also legal in Luxembourg.