The Belgian Parliament voted Thursday to extend euthanasia rights to disabled children of any age, as long as they have parental consent and “possess the capacity of discernment.”
The vote wasn’t even close. The House approved the measure 86-44, with 12 members abstaining. The legislation had already passed the Senate in December, and it one-ups the Netherlands, which allows children older than 12 to be euthanized, according to LifeNews.com, which reported:
The legislation permits a child to request euthanasia, with the consent of his parents, if there is a terminal diagnosis accompanied by great pain with no available treatment options. The measure also extends euthanasia to persons suffering with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Religious and family groups are criticizing the push for child euthanasia, and hundreds of Belgians have taken to the streets in protest.
The legislation “will permit children of all ages to choose to end their lives through the administration of a lethal injection,” the pro-life group, Christian Concern, which lobbied against the bill’s passage, told LifeNews. “Belgian officials have refused to allow for public input, such as a democratic vote, and are pushing the proposals through despite strong public opposition.”
Pro-life groups in Europe are still at work trying to stop the bill before it’s signed into law.
“Currently, the Belgian euthanasia law limits euthanasia to people who are at least 18 years old. This unprecedented bill would extend euthanasia to children with disabilities,” Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition said, according to LifeNews. Regardless of disability, life should be valued. To pass legislation that allows termination of life for people with disabilities who are minors is unacceptable. Instead, we must make every effort to use the research provided to us to provide attentive care to relieve their physical suffering in a moral way.”
Until recently, Belgium has been best known for its waffles, chocolate, beer and fries. Now, state-assisted suicides for children can be added to the list.