Belgian Lawmakers Approve Extending Euthanasia Law to Children

Credit: David Rassam / Foter / CC BYCredit: David Rassam / Foter / CC BYAs expected, the lower house of Belgium’s parliament, the Chamber of Representatives, has voted to extend the country’s euthanasia laws to children. King Philippe must approve the change before it can go into effect.

More from RTT:

Euthanasia is the intentional termination of a very sick person's life by a doctor in order to relieve him or her of their pain and suffering.

The right to euthanasia for minors bill was passed in the lower house of the Parliament, the Chamber of Representatives, by 86 to 44 votes. 12 MPs abstained from voting.

The Belgian Senate overwhelmingly approved the proposed change to euthanasia legislation last December in a 50-17 vote.

As the Associated Press explains, only two other countries have legalized euthanasia, the Netherlands and Luxembourg:

Besides Belgium, the only other countries to have legalised euthanasia are the Netherlands and Luxembourg, said Kenneth Chambaere, a sociologist and member of the End-of-Life Care research group at the Free University Brussels and University of Ghent.

In Luxembourg, a patient must be 18. In the Netherlands, children between 12 and 15 may be given euthanasia with their parents' permission, while those who are 16 or 17 must notify their parents beforehand.

Although the change to euthanasia legislation had widespread public support it was opposed by some doctors and Roman Catholic clergy.

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  • Almanian!||

    extend the country’s euthanasia laws to children

    Can I safely assume they're doing this....for teh childrunz?

  • Floridian||

    I would say yes. Hopefully this will be a non-issue if genetics can advance enough to eliminate cancer but until then people, including children should have the CHOICE to end their suffering. Now if doctors can override parents and patients and order euthanasia, that is wrong.

  • Brett L||

    It is interesting to me how informed consent only matters when the State has an interest in dying being cheaper than living.

  • Floridian||

    Do you mean that you no longer need informed consent if the government thinks it's cheaper to off you? If so, yes it's funny how rules/laws can be waived when it is convenient for our rulers.

  • Brett L||

    Well, let us just say that they only pretend to care when it is cheaper. Consider the contrafactual: "My child and I have both considered this experimental drug treatment that may kill her, but she is already suffering and terminal, we wish to enroll anyways."

    You can't do that in the EU or the US. So this isn't really about extending the autonomy to choose not to live to children. It is a way of giving doctors permission to hard-sell euthanasia to expensive patients. Since said doctors can already prescribe such for fetuses and live births, I believe. Although they may, in practice, get consent from parents.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "So this isn't really about extending the autonomy to choose not to live to children. It is a way of giving doctors permission to hard-sell euthanasia to expensive patients."

    Wow, you're so cynical!

  • Brett L||

    Wow, you're so cynical!

    It is the inevitable outcome of state-run healthcare. Especially in countries like Belgium that are budget-constrained. Once you've driven your labor and capital-improvement costs to their minimum, the only way to control it is to deny care. It literally has to happen this way given what healthcare costs a developed nation in GDP terms. The idea that the EU finally found some libertarian principle like autonomy in this situation goes against all other evidence.

  • Floridian||

    It is the inevitable outcome of state-run healthcare. Especially in countries like Belgium that are budget-constrained. Once you've driven your labor and capital-improvement costs to their minimum, the only way to control it is to deny care.

    I see your point now. It sucks but when you depend on others to pay your bill they get to decide what you order. I think for those suffering without options this is still a net good, even if it does benefit the state.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Of course if Brett L were to follow his own logic out in the other direction. The availability of state funded health care gives many people options for continued care that they would not have under private care which, of course, has to be sensitive to costs even more so than governments. So in theory with less government intervention there would be more incentive for doctors to be talking patients into ending expensive care.

  • ||

    "The availability of state funded health care gives many people options for continued care that they would not have under private care."

    Actually, a free market system for healthcare is more likely to produce innovative, low cost solutions for continued care than a stare-run one is.

  • Floridian||

    My child and I have both considered this experimental drug treatment that may kill her, but she is already suffering and terminal, we wish to enroll anyways

    I think that is wrong too. If people are paying their own way in healthcare then they should get to make all the decisions, including taking the risk of entering into experimental therapies or deciding to check out. The problem is the government getting in the way. I think the Belgium decision is allowing more choice to patients and physicians and that is good as long as euthanasia is not mandatory.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "So this isn't really about extending the autonomy to choose not to live to children. It is a way of giving doctors permission to hard-sell euthanasia to expensive patients."

    That is ridiculous. The parents and the child have to ask for it.

    It is amazing to watch paleo's justify their denial of basic libertarian principles when it conflicts with their conservative world views. Sure, the NAP says people own themselves and should have the right to do what they will with themselves absent infringing another's rights, but with this state run health care we can't allow this! And sure, the NAP will not allow us to stop the free movement or association of people, but with this welfare state we simply have to police our borders better! Etcetera, etcetera.

  • Brett L||

    What the hell are you talking about? I fully support euthanasia for adults, or wards whose guardians are acting in their best interest (although the standards for this should be really, really high). What I don't support is a State-driven culture of euthanasia for anyone who is going to be nothing but a cost on the State's ledger. Given the ability of doctors in the Netherlands to euthanize fetuses and infants delivered with terminal disease without parental consent needed, I think I have a pretty strong position that this is not about the rights of the children and that the Belgians didn't suddenly discover the rightness of 16 year olds to act as adults.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Your 'state driven culture of euthanasia' is red herring talk. The state already is involved in the care of these suffering children. State programs are less, not more, sensitive to costs than private ones (that is kind a foundational tenet of libertarianism, no?).

    The law does not allow a doctor to euthanize any child, the child and parents must ask for it. This opens up a previously unavailable option for those in this terrible situation.

    I would like to see some source for legal authority in the Netherlands for a doctor to euthanize fetuses and infants without the consent of the parents, too.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Prediction; if this gets signed, some time in the next decade there will be a scandal about a Doctor or Doctors euthanizing children who were going to be mentally impaired but otherwise healthy.

    That's been my observation in Sweden; the Swedes are among the nicest people on earth, and yet it is my impression that they have struggled with episodic euthanasia and eugenics scandals since the 1960's. Now, I may be wrong about the cause, but it is my impression that the Swedes cede an awful lot of authority to doctors.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Swedes are awesome. I once spent a Christmas Eve with three beautiful Swedish girls. We ate a Julbord, then dropped acid and went skinny dipping off Venice Beach. Good time.

  • Snark Plissken||

    At sunset, did you make love like sea otters?

  • John||

    That is not even a "prediction" since the work implies some chance of it being wrong. That is exactly what is going to happen, except I wouldn't be surprised if it is greeted with a shrug.

  • ||

    except I wouldn't be surprised if it is greeted with a shrug

    Is that really a bad thing? Look, when you expand freedom, shit happens.

    The challenge here I think, from a Libertarian perspective, is the eternal debate over children's rights. Even if everyone properly "consents", at what point is a person truly capable of adequate decision making? "to possess the capacity of discernment" makes sense, because instead of a bright line by age, you are letting a group have the freedom to make some conclusion that's particular to the circumstances they are dealing with.

    Life is messy. Bright lines make legal issues clearer, but they don't make life any less messy. Denying that life is messy (BANHAMMER!) doesn't solve anything.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Life is messy.

    And death too!

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It appears the child and parents must ask for it and the child must be terminally ill and in unbearable pain, so if it were done under the circumstances you are talking about it would not seem to fall under the law.

  • Brett L||

    Ah, another State granted "right".

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    A law like this allows something that beforehand would have been criminally prohibited by the state, so I am not sure what you are getting at. Did you greet Colorado and Washington's legalization of marijuana the same way, or Heller's striking down of gun control laws?

  • Brett L||

    Yes. Because they aren't granting the final choice in an autonomous person's right to life by choosing euthanasia any more than legalizing gay marriage "gave" gay people rights. Governments can't grant rights. Period.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    So you thought Heller was a terrible decision and Colorado and Washington's legalization passing made you feel the same way?

    Call me nutty, but while I agree that government does not ultimately grant rights I also applaud when the government backs out of areas where they had no business in the first place.

  • Brett L||

    I disagree with your assessment that they are backing out of the area. Doctors are agents of the state in socialized medicine. You must still go hat-in-hand and beg that may they please let you die. That's a fundamental difference. I don't have to go asking my local government office if I can please own a gun anymore under Heller.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You have to go get a government license if you want to carry it concealed anywhere, right? So you should be against Heller, under your logic.

    Under the old regime you had to go to the government doctor, but you could not even ask or have the option of ending your terminally ill and pain-stricken child's suffering. Now you at least can. That is a movement towards more, not less options and freedom for the citizen.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    And one minute you are talking about the state doctors pushing them into the decision, the next falling into talking about how the patients must go begging the doctor for it. With respect, you seem to just be searching around for a rationalization to denounce the opening up of this option for parents and their suffering children, because perhaps you find it a distasteful choice for people to make for social or religious reasons.

  • fish_remote||

    Hey shreek....ever think you might like to emigrate...I hear Belgium is nice.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Considering his hero, Soros, was proud of rounding up Jews for "euthanasia" I cant see why not.

  • SIV||

  • Floridian||

    What the hell is going on in that cartoon?

  • SIV||

    Bayoneting Belgian Babies

  • Floridian||

    Why?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    For God, the Fatherland, and King. Duh!

  • Floridian||

    Those seem like poor reason to kill children. How did that propaganda ever work?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Stop asking so many questions and do more baby stabbing!!!!

  • seguin||

    It's French Propaganda...or possibly Belgian.

  • seguin||

    GFG, I need to recalibrate my humor sensors. Too many Youtube comments and my expectations get low.

  • Floridian||

    That would make more sense.

  • SIV||

    Für Gott Vaterland und König

  • Floridian||

    I told you I don't speak Spanish German!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I can think of a few children I would have liked to euthanize, over the years.

  • SIV||

    Fine Belgian craftsmanship

    I found this while looking for pics of Huns euthanizing Belgian children

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "Euthanasia is the intentional termination of a very sick person's life by a doctor in order to relieve him or her of their pain and suffering."

    'Huns' did that to Belgian children?

  • seguin||

    Well, during the Great Hunnic BabyStabbing of 1917, yes.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Somehow I doubt many Hun doctors stabbed Belgian babies to relieve the babies of their pain or suffering, which is what euthanasia is, even in the most blatant propaganda.

  • Swiss Servator, Befehl!||

    Jumpin' Jesus Christ on a pogo stick - report for humor detection recalibration, STAT!

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Oh, I got the humor. But I also could not miss the trolling in equating voluntary euthanasia to stabbing babies with bayonets in war.

  • Robert||

    What I find odd is that this is the 2nd time this story's run in some form here, and nobody's commented about how bizarre it is in this day & age that a king has to give assent to changes in law.

  • Robert||

    I mean, you'd think that an essential step toward individual liberty would be throwing off the yoke of the monarch!

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