by David Chazan, The Daily Telegraph, 17 September 2016
Mr Chazan reports on the announcement by Belgian authorities of the first reported case of euthanasia of a minor since the law was amended in 2014. Professor Wim Distelmans, the chair of the federal euthanasia committee, says that “Fortunately there are very few children who are considered (for euthanasia) but that does not mean we should refuse them the right to a dignified death.”
terminally-ill minor has become the first to be helped to die by doctors in Belgium since age restrictions on euthanasia were lifted two years ago.
Belgium is the only country that allows children of all ages to choose euthanasia, provided parental consent is granted.
The Netherlands also permits underage patients to request a doctor-assisted death, but only if they are aged 12 or over.
The number of patients choosing to be euthanised in Belgium has risen more than eight-fold since the procedure was legalised, with 2,021 cases reported last year, according to the federal committee.
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The Care Alliance says the death was tragically predictable “because once you normalise the idea of euthanasia, there is no logical place to draw the line. New Zealanders urgently deserve to know whether the people advocating for a law change here think Belgium has got it right or got it wrong.”