Children can request euthanization under new Belgium bill

Belgium Extends "Right-to-Die" to Terminally Ill Kids

Belgium Extends "Right-to-Die" to Terminally Ill Kids

The Slatest
Your News Companion
Feb. 13 2014 3:52 PM

Belgium Extends "Right-to-Die" to Terminally Ill Kids

Belgium is set to become the first country in the world to allow euthanasia for terminally ill children of any age. Here's USA Today with the details of today's historic vote:

The 86-44 vote Thursday in the House of Representatives, with 12 abstentions, followed approval by the Senate in December. The law will go into effect when signed by Belgium's monarch, King Philippe. The king was not expected to oppose the measure.
"We aren't speaking about death, we are speaking about the way to die," said Philippe Mahoux, a Socialist Party senator and the bill's main sponsor. "What we are giving them is the possibility to die with dignity, without suffering, without intolerable pain."

Such a controversial bill is obviously not without conditions. The child must be terminally ill, experiencing intolerable pain, and understand what euthanasia means. The parents or guardians of the child must also give their consent. Opponents, meanwhile, argue that those safeguards aren't nearly enough given the children would be, by definition, undergoing enormous pain at the time they'd be making their decision.