Belgium Considers Euthanasia Law For Minors

230px-chattertonBelgium is considering an expansion of its decade-old euthanasia law to allow minors and Alzheimer’s sufferers to seek permission to die. The Socialist Party’s proposal appears likely to be approved to remove the age limit (of 18 years) for electing euthanasia.

The new law allows for “the law to be extended to minors if they are capable of discernment or affected by an incurable illness or suffering that we cannot alleviate.”

Socialist Senator and drafter Philippe Mahoux said that there had been cases of adolescents who “had the capacity to decide” their future.

I have been a long supporter of the right to die as a basic human right. However, I have great reservations about allowing minors to make such a decision. The articles that I have read do not mention parental consent, which I assume is required in such cases. If parental consent is required, do you believe children should be allowed to elect euthanasia?

Source: France 24

34 thoughts on “Belgium Considers Euthanasia Law For Minors

  1. Suppose it is already decided that minors should be allowed to refuse life-prolonging treatment. On what grounds, then, should they be denied access to life-ending treatments?

  2. I am of the position that a persons choice to end their life, not taking anyone else down with them should be able to do exactly that…..

  3. I have been a long supporter of the right to die as a basic human right. However, I have great reservations about allowing minors to make such a decision. The articles that I have read do not mention parental consent, which I assume is required in such cases. If parental consent is required, do you believe children should be allowed to elect euthanasia?

    If it is based on a sound medical diagnosis, parental consent, and the minor’s understanding of the facts, it gets closer to a humane concept.

  4. Suicide is the ultimate human right. As for minors, I think that should be based on whether the jursidiction allows minors to be tried as adults. IF they do I find it hard to then say that the person is “too young/immature” to decide a issue that only affects them. (tongue only half in cheek;-))

  5. Given proper safeguards I think it is fine. We all should have the ability to decide if we want to opt out of this thing we call life. Life should’t be a lifetime sentence for anyone.

  6. But will it still be illegal to choose to have sex for money before you legally choose to kill yourself? Oh wait, prostitution is legal in Belgium. Ah, now I see, prostitution leads to suicide!
    (reasoning coming to you soon from the good folks of the US legislature)

  7. I think as long as there is parental consent, and maybe a medical diagnosis indicating terminal illness (the same kind of diagnosis required to get hospice care), I don’t see a problem. I watched my mother die of cancer earlier this year, and over the course of 2 months, she lost the ability to walk, move her wheelchair, stand, support her weight at all, eat, speak, swallow, move her eyes, and more. Luckily, she didn’t linger the way many cancer patients do, but I know she would have chosen this had it been an option. I know if she had lingered for months once she was in the latest stages, I would have been furious for her to not have this option.

  8. “If parental consent is required, do you believe children should be allowed to elect euthanasia?”

    Yes. Mike S. said it well.

  9. Minors should be treated just as equally as any other occupation. Particularly coal minors. However, diamond minors have stars in their eyes and might think that if they croak they will go to heaven. Instead they will be buried in the dirt near the coal mine waiting for some coal minor to dig them up by accident. Leave it to the socialists to discriminate against or in favor of minors.

  10. I have been a long supporter of the right to die as a basic human right.”

    That is one right they can’t take away from us.

    It is the only right that is absolutely guaranteed too. ;)

  11. My stance is just a tad bit different. I don’t think it should be legalized anywhere for anyone. Nor do I think it should be illegal. I don’t believe suicide, or for that matter abortion or marriage, is the business of any government.

    They should not be there to tell us who, what, where, why, when and how. If anything we the people should be defining what they the government is allowed to regulate.

    If I choose to take my life, it is my decision. Where will it end? Will you allow government to regulate how many tattoos or body piercings you are allowed? How large a soda you may purchase? Oh, wait…

  12. Andrea, people sometimes are not aware of the level of constant chronic pain people can be in and have to live with that is not terminal, absent suicide or euthanasia.

  13. Beverelliee
    1, December 19, 2012 at 10:39 am
    My stance is just a tad bit different. I don’t think it should be legalized anywhere for anyone. Nor do I think it should be illegal. I don’t believe suicide, or for that matter abortion or marriage, is the business of any government.
    ———
    yes, except that our societal matrix will not allow for this sort of ‘tribal’ caring and governance….

  14. Unusual, government allowing a citizen to petition it to request to die.

    Since when have many governments obtained permission to kill its own citizens yet do?

    Soapbox aside I really don’t believe there is going to be a great benefit, compared to the cost of declaring globally suicide is a reasonable choice, especially since most teen suicides are for tragic reasons, that is the problem was really not a problem yet the teen killed herself.

  15. I am fully onside with legalized and voluntary euthanasia for those who want it. If there comes a point where life will only get worse and more painful, where there is no hope of improvement (e.g. ALS, MS, cancer, etc.) I can empathize completely. I’ve had excellent lifelong health and never thought about suicide, but I might if I were in their shoes.

    Kids aren’t old enough to form consent, nor do they possess the willpower of adults to endure pain. What if the kid has a temporary condition or a recurring one that is painful (e.g. colitis)? A child might be unwilling to endure pain in the short term, pain that will eventually go away (or at least become more bearable or treatable).

    Parental consent isn’t the biggest problem, parental pressure is. It’s far easier to browbeat a kid into obedience than an adult. How do we know that a kid who “asks” for it isn’t being forced to by parents who want the kid dead (e.g. a child who requires expensive care)? Even if the kid has full mental faculties (not mentally disabled), this is still a risk.

    This should only be considered if a child has a terminal illness, absolutely no chance of improvement. Otherwise, this is far too easily prone to misuse. There are no known cases of adults being forced into euthanasia, but it would be easy with a child.

  16. P Smtih children and teens can have, as one example, that I know only too intimately, trigeminal neuralgia, also known as “the suicide disease” and “the worst pain known to man” The chances of spontaneous remission is negligible at best. If surgery, meds have not worked then you are left with an often debilitating, disabling, and horrendous virtually unendurable pain.
    For many with tn, you can tolerate no touch to the area of the face involved, including even the brush of a single hair or the wisp of a breeze without horrendously agonizing pain. (I used to have to get my face washed under general anaesthesia for many years since I could not wash it and the dirt buildup was resulting in repeated eye infections).
    The worst part of pain like this is that it is not terminal.

  17. in 2009 they started issuing k guns to Bobby’s and high crime areas. Yes they do have high crime areas. At 1 time it was a hanging offense to strike a Bobby. Today they are backed up by SWAT team. They also don’t have the gingproblem that we have. Of course they do have gangs and it is getting worse

  18. Leejcaroll.

    I am curious if surgically severing the facial nerve that causes that pain works to cure the pain, though it would leave paralysis.

  19. I am a Belgian citizen and while having been in the US for 31 years I still, from time to time, read the news out of that tiny country of ‘mine’. Belgians are quirky. While the general public is quite conservative, Belgians found that it wasn’t the government’s business to interfere with what happens between two (or more) consenting adults in the privacy of their home and approved legalization of gay marriage; they support abortion rights of women as well. I have been surprised by the way the majority of my fellow country men and women deal with issues which are such a huge deal to so many in the US. Yes, give minors the right to die. I do hope that there are some sensible limits to doing this though. A long-time sufferer of chronic pain, I can imagine all too well that people want to opt out of a life of it. While I was in unbearable physical pain for years and felt like death would be the solution, I was lucky to have a supportive husband and doctor who helped me change my mind. I am taking some pain medicine which helps quite a bit and I don’t have to work full-time, allowing for decent periods of rest. I hope that the minors who feel so overwhelmed by their pain and feel hopeless have the support I have before they contemplate killing themselves.

  20. Darren that makes sense but actually does not work.
    The trigeminal nerve is the 5th facial nerve which is responsible mostly for sensation.
    (The 7th nerve is facial which thru med mal was injured and caused a full paralysis of that side of my face.)
    Because of surgery to the 5th nerve: it has been cleaned of blood vessels (which always grow back) burned by heat, and cut at the root. Unfortunately that has resulted in loss of sensation but it has left phantom pain so that I remain with chronic intractable pain.n

  21. If parental consent is required, do you believe children should be allowed to elect euthanasia?

    Yes.

    Parents should not have the power to compel a child to suffer.

  22. I agree with euthanasia, but I don’t know if I could go along with a child being able to make that horrible decision. I may be able to agree with it if parental consent was required. Sad decision.

  23. Darren, thank you.
    (Problem with a cure for trigeminal neuralgia is they have yet to decide on the cause of it, various theories abound but seem to be proven wrong as often as right)

  24. leejcaroll –

    I’m not a doctor, I didn’t claim to have all the answers, and I only listed one possible example. Or did you expect me to scour every medical journal and account for every possible scenario that does or could exist?

    The focus of my concern was on kids who don’t want to die and the decision to kill them was made for them by someone else, such as parents or governments.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2010/12/06/f-robert-latimer-compassionate-homicide.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Hudson_case

  25. leejcaroll,

    I’d like to second what Darren said. I’m late to your comment, but the well wishes for a therapy are no less sincere for their timing. My mother has a neurological disorder that causes her constant pain as well. It can be very frustrating as well as painful. May this year be the year you get a good remedial treatment option.

  26. P Smith, not sure what your annoyance is about. I gave you one example. I did not question your bona fides as per your opinion, just responded, nicely, I thought.

    Gene, Thank you for your kind concern.
    I hope that your mother is also able to find some helpand that it will be the right year for both of us.

  27. Mike Spindell 1, December 19, 2012 at 8:56 am
    Given proper safeguards I think it is fine. We all should have the ability to decide if we want to opt out of this thing we call life. Life should’t be a lifetime sentence for anyone.

    “…if we want to opt out of this thing we call life. Life shouldn’t be a lifetime sentence for anyone.”

    You were doing so well, until this above. And indeed, I am not surprised. It is so like you, and indeed it goes along with everything you have said so far; it goes along with the spirit of the 60s that is so very prevalent with you!
    Anything goes! Let me share with you my thoughts Mike: As you may know, I am an LPN (Licensed Practical nurse…although I went to an RN practice but Jeanne M. Kincaid will not allow me to finish. As I was saying, you were doing so well mike, “Given proper safeguards.”
    There is nothing like our modern-day technology keeping people’s body’s alive. I cannot begin to count the many times I took care of a person who was long gone from their body: Is this fair?
    Is this fair to keep someone trapped in pain and agony because we can? Who are we to play God? And so, Mike some parents/guardians may refuse to allow a teenager that right of dignity (now that our technology is making the decisions) because of their position as parent. Thus the safeguards Mike:
    I would like to see relief for that teen… perhaps guardian ad litems in the interests of that teenager who is racked with a painful and terminal prognosis…he/she should have that right to terminate the extension of suffering. We are at this juncture because of our cerebral capacities and abilities to invent, for clearly if this technology had not come about this would not be a topic, hence death would not be prolonged and people would die…naturally!
    We therefore, will have to know and understand that all life is precious; and living as an organism minus our ability to continue as before (not speaking of children/adults with mental retardation) this, subject is for another day: I just want to focus on what is presented here!
    “Incurable illness or suffering that we cannot alleviate.” Thus, regardless of age, and with people on either side, we as a civilized and informed compassionate society have that right not to be ruled by our inventions!
    Again, let me say, that

    “…if we want to opt out of this thing we call life. Life shouldn’t be a lifetime sentence for anyone.”

    This phrase above is reductionary in nature, and there is a callous disrespect and disregard for life implied…no wonder the use of the word ‘life-sentence” in the same breath…So mike Spindle!

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