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Belgian Senate committee votes for extension of euthanasia to children

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A Belgian Senate committee has voted in favour of a bill that would extend euthanasia to children in a vote of 13 to 4.

In order for the bill to pass into law, it must first be approved by the Senate and then by the House of Representatives.    

First country

The controversial legislation was introduced by the Socialist Party in December and if it passes, will make Belgium the first country to introduce euthanasia for minors.

The bill also proposes to allow the procedure to be accessed by those suffering from Alzheimer's and other diseases leading to advanced dementia.

“Out of control”

Commenting on Belgium’s euthanasia laws, Dr Peter Saunders of Care Not Killing said:

“It is widely acknowledged that euthanasia is out of control in Belgium: a 500% increase in cases in ten years; one third involuntary; half not reported; euthanasia for blindness, anorexia and botched sex change operations; organ transplant euthanasia; plans to extend euthanasia to children and people with dementia.

“But it is clear that in practice the boundaries are continually migrating and the nation's moral conscience is shifting year on year. Call it incremental extension, mission creep or slippery slope - whatever - it is strongly in evidence in Belgium.”

First case

Recently, a woman controversially ended her life under the country’s euthanasia laws following a sex change operation in the first case of its kind.

Earlier this year, Nathan (born Nancy) Verhelst, 44, was given a lethal injection by cancer specialist Dr Wim Distelmans on the grounds that she was suffering from “intolerable psychological pain”.

This is the same doctor who euthanized two deaf twin brothers, Marc and Eddy Verbessem (45) after they expressed fears that they would turn blind as a result of a genetic disorder.

Recent statistics show a 25 per cent increase in Belgian euthanasia cases in 2012 compared to the previous year.



Dr Peter Saunders’ blog

Related sources:

Belgium Senate to vote on extending euthanasia to children