Imagine that you are a parent, and your child is diagnosed with a terminally ill disease which leaves him or her in constant, unbearable pain for the remainder of the child’s life. You would be devastated, and suffer along with them, wishing there was something, anything you could do to take away their pain. If you could end it, you would. But would you end your child’s suffering by allowing him or her to be euthanized?
Belgian lawmakers approved legislation two weeks ago for children to be euthanized. The required conditions include that the child must be terminally ill, in constant and unbearable pain and understand the end result of euthanasia. Doctors must also acquire parental consent before euthanizing the child.
The lower house approved the legislation 86 to 44 in the lower house and sent the bill on for the king to be sign the document into law. If he signs the bill, Belgium will distinguish itself as the first country to revoke all age restrictions on legal, medically induced deaths.
We The Threefold Advocate are distressed by the Belgian legislature’s decision and do not believe that euthanasia should be legalized for children. The British Broadcasting Corporation reported that “supporters of the legislation argue that in practice the law will affect an extremely small number of children.” Yet even if the law only affects one child, that is one child who has been killed.
We oppose Belgium’s legalization of child euthanasia for two essential reasons. Most importantly, the bill is, in its purest form, murder. While strict limitations have been established, the fact remains that the drug will kill a child.
In addition, children are likely incapable of making the complex decision to die. Children are excluded from many decision-making parts of life until they have reached a certain level of maturity for this very reason. Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard of Brussels, head of the Catholic Church in Belgium, said it perfectly: “The law says adolescents cannot make important decisions on economic or emotional issues, but suddenly they’ve become able to decide that someone should make them die.”
Although the majority of Belgian lawmakers approved the bill, there have been mixed feelings surrounding the legislation. “Opinion polls have suggested broad support for the changes in Belgium, which is mostly Catholic,” BBC News stated. Yet there are protestors and petitions rebelling against the legalization of euthanasia for children.
Euthanasia is currently illegal in all 50 states, and there is little chance that the U.S. will legalize the procedure. We must remember that, though it is not as commonly discussed as stem cell research or tax increases, it is an important moral issue to be aware of—one that carries deadly consequences.