[ View the story "A child's choice to die" on Storify] A child's choice to die Belgium debates legalising euthanasia for children under 18.
The Stream· Tue, Oct 22 2013 10:14:56
The Belgian parliament is
legislation that would expand the current euthanasia law allowing children between the ages of 12 to 16 to request it and parents to give their consent. Another bill lets patients with early Alzheimer's sign a declaration asking to end their life once a doctor has concluded that they are no longer able to effectively interact with society. Euthanasia has been legal since 2002 and currently accounts for
one per cent
of all deaths in Belgium.
75 per cent
of Belgians are in favor of broadening the current scope of euthanasia laws. In 12 countries polled in Europe, three quarters or more of those responding
that people should be able to decide when and how they die.
Netizens reacted to the euthanasia debate. Many spoke out in favour of Belgium's current law:
Wanting to die pain free, after saying goodbye to your loved ones and making peace with your life is actually pretty damn rational when you've just heard the alternative. superdillin
Assisted suicide should not be easy to get aproved for, but it should be possible. After a few consultations and therapy testing your mental state, i think you should be able to take your own life with help if you so wish. guy_lovejoy
I can't possibly agree more. I sit with people who are suffering at the end of their lives for work, and I cannot count on any of my limbs the amount of times I've had someone say to me, "why won't they just let me die?" It comes to a point where you're no longer forcing a person to live against their will, you're forcing them to die slowly, embarrassingly, painfully, hurting their loved ones in ways that are beyond horrible. It's seriously inhuman to prevent an autonomous human being for choosing the circumstances for the end of their life. superdillin
Others praised the bill that would extend euthanasia to minors:
I'm very proud of Belgium when it comes to things like this. RememberYourPass
I saw a four year old girl waste away until even touching her hurt her immensely. I am glad this law is being considered, even though it seems to be only for children above 10.ThiaTheYounger
Sounds good, it was kind of gruesome how we allowed adults to avoid as much pain as possible but didn't offer the same grace to kids. Quazz
Belgium's bishops voiced their opposition to the new bill in a
to citizens and Parliament titled "Can social bonds be interrupted"?
“Isn’t a written attestation requesting euthanasia in case of loss of mental faculties, likely to become one day even superfluous to the extent of no longer considering it is necessary? And with respect to minors: is the extension of the law for children under 15 years likely to then pave the way to euthanasia “for small children, because their illness or their disability have become unbearable?”agensir.it
They raised the alternative option of improving palliative care for patients:
“We call upon Parliament to consider that sick people, minors or people affected by dementia could benefit more from Public Healthcare in the framework of palliative treatments. Saying no to euthanasia doesn’t mean suffering, nor does it mean to prompt the suffering of others. The progress in palliative treatment has made great progress in providing relief to pain and helped prevent possible requests of euthanasia”.agensir.it
In October, Nathan, born Nancy was
legal euthanasia in Belgium after a sex change operation left him feeling "unbearable psychological suffering". His case reignited the debate on the issue for non-terminal illnesses. Recently a trailer for a movie documenting his transition and decision to end his own life was released:
'NATHAN' - trailerRoel Nollet
However, Nathan's case is not unique. Now his friend Dora, born Dirk, who also underwent a sex change operation has
her desire to undergo euthanasia after fighting depression and facing rejection from her family. Last year deaf twin brothers were
after they discovered that they were going blind.
Tom Mortier's mother underwent euthanasia after battling depression. He discusses its impact on his life:
How Legal Euthanasia Changed Society in Belgium Forever4di7uSDkRYsHx8UL38LHvA
The euthanasia debate has been ongoing around the world including in
, Australia and in Canada. In Quebec, a bill is being considered that would
in Canada that oppose the decriminalisation bill have started campaigns:
Our new profile photo.facebook.com
Mona Latour, a Canadian woman who was diagnosed with lung disease six years ago and told that she had no hope, discusses her views on the Canadian bill.
Mona Latour - Thoughts on #Euthanasia, Doctors and #Bill524di7uSDkRYsHx8UL38LHvA
Our online community weighed in against euthanasia and Belgium's proposed bill of extending it to minors and adults with Alzheimer's:
@AJStream wish we could put in as much effort in enriching the lives of the living, b4 letting #Euthanasia become our focus. #mixedfeelingsMax Gough
@AJStream euthanasia is one of the back door ways used by Doctors to cover their tracksnasir
@AJStream Euthanasia should be granted to people in only very severe cases. You shouldn't kill someone simply because he's depressed.joseph omole
@josephomole1 @AJStream I don't think it should be permitted at all. It's equivalent to committing murder no matter how severe the case is.Hanna
@AJStream there is a reason why it is forbidden in #Germany...During the #Nazi era they used this as a method of killing disabled people...Netzblockierer
Others believe that government healthcare should cover euthanasia:
@AJStream A government that can afford it should. What a government funds should nevertheless be at the governing bodies' discretion.joseph omole
@AJStream if the patient is living with a debilitating, unchangeable condition, & are informed about the process. it's their choice.Jessica Eichlin
@AJStream I would like to think parents wouldn't willingly condemn their child to a lifetime of suffering. but minors should have a choice.Jessica Eichlin