Coalition of Bioethics Groups Condemns Dutch Euthanasia for Kids Expansion

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 24, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Coalition of Bioethics Groups Condemns Dutch Euthanasia for Kids Expansion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 24, 2004

Rome, Italy ( — A coalition of bioethics groups is condemning the Dutch government for extending its euthanasia law to include children. The groups are appealing to the European Union to protect basic human rights.

The International Federation of Centers and Institutes of Bioethics of Personalist Inspiration (IFCIBPI), a collection of 35 bioethics centers and institutions, recently released a statement, according to the Zenit news agency.

The IFCIBPI expressed "a negative and absolute judgment" to the news that the Dutch government and the Groningen University Clinic would expand euthanasia to children.

Approved in 2002, Dutch law allows adult patients suffering from incurables diseases to request assisted suicide. Teenagers under the age of 16 must have their parents approval, but the newly proposed law would drop that to 12 years of age.

But IFCIBPI says that "the extension of legalization [of euthanasia] to children and newborns, where consent is not possible, is an inconceivable injustice."

Zenit reports that the bioethics groups appealed to the European Union to use the Convention of the Rights of Man and Fundamental Freedoms to stop the implementation of the expansion of euthanasia to kids in the Netherlands.

Earlier this month, the proposal drew criticism from the Vatican.

Bishop Elio Sgreccia, the vice-president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, condemned the idea saying "the final boundary will have been crossed" in disrespect for the sanctity of human life.

Sgreccia warned of a "moral relativism" that has "anesthetized society," and said that modern medicine is wrongly focusing on costs rather than the welfare of the patient.

The Dutch move to expand euthanasia is prompting neighboring Belgium to consider doing the same.

Belgian lawmakers are putting forward a measure that would expand the country’s legal euthanasia law to allow doctors to end the lives of children without parental permission. The lawmakers also want to legalize the practice of assisted suicide so patients can kill themselves.