Senators in Belgium began to consider allowing euthanasia for children this week, eleven years after the country legalised the practice for adults. This is despite concern deaf twins were allowed to be euthanised for entirely the wrong reasons. If parents have the last word up to age of consent because a child is viewed incapable until then, then how can they now say a child can choose to end own life ?
Socialist Party Senator Philippe Mahoux, one of the architects of the 2002 law, now wants to extend the legislation to cover children of any age. The move is being resisted by the Roman Catholic Church, which said it backs a “palliative care approach”.
Witnesses appeared in the upper house of the Belgian parliament to discuss the proposal on Wednesday, in deliberations which will last several months. Once the hearings are over senators and Belgian MPs will examine the proposals. Under the current law there is an exception to allow children aged 15 and over to be euthanased, if they are “legally emancipated” from their parents.
But Mr Mahoux is seeking to broaden the law to include all children of any age with a serious and incurable disease and a sound mind.