Belgium Expected To Pass Law Allowing Child Euthanasia

Despite protests from a vocal minority, Belgian lawmakers were expected to pass a proposed law Thursday allowing terminally ill children to end life.
Posted at 2:50 PM, Feb 13, 2014

Lawmakers in Belgium passed  a measure Thursday to allow terminally ill children the right to take their own lives. When the king officially signs the law, the country will be the first to remove age limits on euthanasia.

"It would allow children to ask to be allowed to die if they're in pain and can't be treated. Belgium has allowed euthanasia for terminally ill adults since 2002." (Via Sky News)

Parliament approved the controversial bill with a vote of 86 in favor, 44 against and 12 abstentions.

Before the vote, the law brought heated protests with anti-euthanasia demonstrators carrying signs reading: "Care! Do not kill." Others claim thousands have already been killed just because lawmakers were considering it. (Via BBC)

Still, the measure was largely supported by the public, with more than three in four Belgians in favor of it. But even so, the issue presents an impossibly difficult scenario for families involved, and even they aren't in agreement about the morality of child euthanasia.

Linda van Roy was forced to watch her infant die under sedation because of a terminal genetic mutation.


VAN ROY: "If they really want to say, 'Stop this; I don't want it anymore,' they can have a choice." (Via CNN)

But Al Jazeera spoke with a father who never considered asking his terminally ill son if he wanted to die.

ALEX DELOBBE: "If parents come and ask do you want to live or die, what kind of question crosses the child's mind? Would it please my parents if I died? Would it be for their good? Or for mine?" (Via Al Jazeera)

Even though it passed, a CNN reporter the law might not see much use in practice.

A similar law in the Netherlands requiring parental consent passed in 2002, and only five children have requested euthanasia since then.