Dutch paediatricians are looking to change the law that would allow children UNDER the age of 12 to decide whether they want to die.
Terminally ill children 12-years or older in the Netherlands are able to request euthanasia under current laws, and a controverisal new proposal could see that age lowered further to include all children who are considered to be “suffering unbearably”.
“We feel that an arbitrary age limit such as 12 should be changed and that each child’s ability to ask to die should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis,” Said Paediatrics professor at Groningen University, Eduard Verhagen.
Dutch paediatricians are lobbying for a commission to be set-up by the government to examine the proposals further.
Yahoo News reports:
A change in the law would bring the Netherlands in line with Belgium, which in 2014 became the first country in the world to pass a law allowing euthanasia for a young child who has the “discernment” necessary to decide to give up life.
The Belgian law offers the possibility of euthanasia to children “in a hopeless medical situation of constant and unbearable suffering that cannot be eased and which will cause death in the short-term.”
Counselling by doctors and a psychiatrist or psychologist is required, as is parental approval.
Belgian paediatricians said in 2013 that “in cases of serious illness and imminent death, minors develop very quickly a great maturity, to the point where they are often better able to reflect and express themselves on life than healthy people.”
Verhagen said that five children were euthanized in the Netherlands between 2002 and 2015: a 12-year old and four youths aged 16 to 17.