The Belgian Parliament will hold a debate next Wednesday before voting the following day on a measure to allow minors to ask for euthanasia if they are terminally ill. This is supposed to be for if they are in great pain and if there is no treatment to alleviate their distress. It follows a 50-17 vote in favour of child euthanasia in the Belgian Senate in December.
The Council of Europe Written Declaration is against this abhorrent proposed legalisation of child euthanasia in Belgium.
The Declaration (which has been supported by parliamentarians from across Europe) notes that the move “betrays some of the most vulnerable children in Belgium by accepting that their lives may no longer have any inherent value or worth and that they should die… [and] promotes the unacceptable belief that a life can be unworthy of life which challenges the very basis of civilised society.”
Some commentators suggest that the bill is being fast-tracked because opposition is growing and supporters want it law before it is blocked.
Several Belgian studies already exist proving that in Belgium:
(1) euthanasia is widely under-reported (2) euthanasia is often done without an explicit request (3) and nurses are lethally injecting patients, even though the law does not permit it.
In Belgium adults have been put to death simply for being depressed.
Belgium is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). How this proposal fits the UNCRC is a puzzle to me. How could anyone be sure of the competence of the child to both understand the consequences of euthanasia, and to choose death over the benefits of good palliative care. Surely they need our protection not abandonment to the limitation of their own knowledge and experience?
Words can not describe…