In the Netherlands, doctors want to give terminally ill children, under the age of 12, the so-called right to die. Unbelievably, doctors from the Dutch Pediatric Association believe that the 2002 law allowing children over 12 to request to be euthanized does not go far enough. Eduard Verhagen, a professor of pediatrics at Groningen University explained, “We feel that an arbitrary age limit such as 12 should be changed. Each child’s ability to ask to die should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.”
Currently, child euthanasia is allowed in the Netherlands only if the patient meets the following requirements:
- The patient must be over the age of 12.
- Their suffering is considered unbearable and without hope for improvement.
- The child’s parents approve.
- The patient has asked to die multiple times over a period of time.
So far, five children have been killed in the Netherlands since euthanasia became legal. Professor Verhagen lamented, “If a child under 12 satisfies the same conditions, pediatricians are currently powerless. It’s time to address this problem.” The Telegraph reported that one child who died was 12-years-old and the others were 16 and 17-years-old.
However, Dr. Peter Saunders, the CEO of the Christian Medical Association, said that dozens of disabled newborns had been euthanized in the Netherlands. These deaths included 22 babies that had spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus, according to a 2005 report in the New England Medical Journal.
As LifeNews previously reported, last year Belgium became the first country to permit the euthanasia of young children. The pro-life group, Christian Concern, lobbied against the bill becoming law. They said, “Belgian officials have refused to allow for public input, such as a democratic vote, and are pushing the proposals through despite strong public opposition.”
One pro-life physician, Dr Paul Saba, explained that he is very disturbed by the events that are already taking place in Belgium. He said, “They are already euthanizing people who are depressed or tired of life because they have taken the interpretations of saying physical and/or psychological suffering – you don’t have to have both, if you have one, why is that not enough? If you are suffering, it’s a personal experience and it would be discriminatory for someone to judge what a person is suffering What this teaches us is that despite the government’s assurances that they will set very strict criteria, that won’t work.”
Additionally, 58 members of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Group signed a written declaration saying that the law is dangerous because it “betrays some of the most vulnerable children in Belgium” and “promotes the unacceptable belief that a life can be unworthy of life which challenges the very basis of civilized society.” Thankfully, pro-life pediatricians also stood against the legislation saying it was unnecessary because “palliative care teams for children are perfectly capable of achieving pain relief, both in hospital and at home.”
If the Netherlands follow in the footsteps of Belgium, it is likely that the same abuse will occur and more children will die simply because they are disabled or considered “a burden to society.”