Belgian Lawmakers Considering Allowing Child Euthanasia

Belgian lawmakers are
considering a bill that, if made law, would allow children under 18
to end their own lives.

According to
the bill, which has popular support, would require the
parents of the child who wants to end their life to consent and for
an expert to deem the child capable of understanding their decision
before being helped to die.

The Washington Post
explains some of the arguments put
forward by advocates of the bill and the current status of adult
euthanasia in Belgium:

Advocates argue that euthanasia for children, with the consent
of their parents, is necessary to give families an option in a
desperately painful situation. But opponents have questioned
whether children can reasonably decide to end their own lives.

Belgium is already a euthanasia pioneer; it legalized the
practice for adults in 2002. In the last decade, the number of
reported cases per year has risen from 235 deaths in 2003 to 1,432
in 2012, the last year for which statistics are available. Doctors
typically give patients a powerful sedative before injecting
another drug to stop their heart.

Carine Boucher of the European Center for Bio-ethics, believes
that children lack the maturity to request euthanasia.


Two thirds of Belgians reportedly favor the euthanasia
expansion. Euthanasia deaths in Belgium rose to 1,432 in 2012
compared to 235 in 2003.

But critics think the proposal goes too far.

“The child does not have the maturity to get married or to buy
alcohol or to buy cigarettes if he is 14. Now we are saying that
because he is suffering, he might have the possibility to ask for
euthanasia,” said Carine Boucher of the European Center for
Bio-ethics in Brussels. “Who will give the suggestion to the child
that one of the solutions is euthanasia? A child doesn’t know what
euthanasia is. A child doesn’t know what death is.”

The Post’s reporting on the proposed bill comes after a

was helped to die in Belgium last month after
failed sex-change operations.

Children are a difficult subject for libertarians, who put a lot
of value in an individual’s ability to know what is best for them
and in their ability to make choices about what to do with their
body. In many jurisdictions some people under the age of 18 are
deemed mature enough to drive, sign up for organ donation,

military (with
parental consent), and have sex, but are not deemed mature enough
to vote or smoke.

Below is a discussion between Prof. David Friedman and Stefan
Molyneux on libertarian parenting:

So, readers, what
should those under 18 be prohibited from doing, and how should this
be decided? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

from Hit & Run

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.