Euthanasia for children under 18 appears to be gaining support in Belgium. Two years ago, a bill was introduced to extend the country’s recent euthanasia legislation to minors. It was argued that terminally ill children and teenagers have as much right to choose when they want to die as adults. That initiative failed, but now the Flemish Socialist Party, a member of the coalition government, has called for an amendment to allow under-18s to choose euthanasia.
Under the proposed rules, children would have to request death more than once, be terminally ill and be in constant pain. These provisions are similar to those already in place for adults.
Euthanasia appears to be firmly established in Belgium. More than half of the newborn babies who died in the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium were helped on their way by doctors, according to an article in The Lancet last year. Euthanasia was legalised in Belgium in 2002.
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