The world over, to murder a child, is generally viewed in a negative light. However, in Belgium, legislative authorities amended its law on euthanasia to include the authorization for doctors to terminate the life of a child.
After the amendment, initially, and for the first year, no child came forth to be legally euthanized, however, from January 1st, 2016 to December 31st, 2017 Belgian doctors euthanized three children under eighteen.
To make matters worse, the children can decide if they would like to end their own life. Belgian authorities have made the argument that very young children possess the same decisional capacity as some adults.
Out of the three children that were legally murdered, one was a seventeen-year-old. Furthermore, Belgium is not the only country in the world where children over twelve can decide to end their lives; in fact, the Netherlands also permits euthanasia for children over twelve.
However, the other two children that decided to act upon being euthanized were nine and eleven years old. These two children are the first under-twelve cases anywhere in the world.
Everywhere where Euthanasia is legal, the law reflects the same age as consent. In other words, in the majority of places where euthanasia is allowed, children are at least making the decisions when they are eighteen and older.
However, in Belgium, to grant the decisional capacity to that of a child who is so young is absurd. The child can’t vote, can’t consent to sex, but he or she can choose to kill him/herself?
Belgian authorities regarding the matter, trust experts to prevent mistakes or abuses. Doctors must verify that a child is “in a hopeless medical situation of constant and unbearable suffering that cannot be eased and which will cause death in the short term.”
After a child makes his or her wish for euthanasia known, in writing, child psychiatrists conduct examinations, including, intelligence tests, to determine that the youngster is capable and “not influenced by a third party.” Parents can, however, prevent the request from being carried out.
Of the two children that chose to end their lives, the eleven-year-old had cystic fibrosis. The disease is, in fact, fatal and incurable, however, because of the advances in medicine, the average individual with CF can live to be forty-three years-old or beyond. Furthermore, because of the advances in medicine, often, those with CF can have a high quality of life.
Regardless of the circumstances that surround euthanasia for children, and the ability of adults to knowingly choose to end their lives, the legality of such is in and of itself a danger.
The field of legal euthanasia is just starting for adults and for such to be also available to children places law in the hands of insanity.