Belgium debates euthanasia for minors

Belgian legislators opened a debate Wednesday on whether to amend a decade-old law on euthanasia to cover minors, being told by experts that it was already taking place in practice without any set guidelines.

Currently, the law applies to those over 18 but one expert told the upper that it was clear that was being carried out on younger people, the Belga news agency reported.

"We all know it," said Dominique Biarent, head of at Queen Fabiola Children's University Hospital in Brussels.

Faced with this reality, "doctors need a ," Biarent was quoted as saying by Belga.

Another expert, Professor Chris Van Geet of Leuven University, said the proposed changes pose "an enormous ethical problem."

The changes to the law, which would also include sufferers of Alzheimer's disease, were submitted to parliament in December and it is likely to be several months before any decision is taken on them.

Belgium was the second country in the world after the Netherlands to legalise euthanasia in 2002.

A total of 1,133 instances—mostly for terminal cancer—were recorded in 2011, about one percent of all deaths in the country, according to official figures.

Related Stories

Reported Dutch euthanasia cases rise

date Sep 26, 2012

(AP)—The number of doctor-assisted suicide cases reported in the Netherlands grew by 559 between the years of 2010 and 2011, a commission says.

Dutch group launch mobile mercy killing teams

date Feb 29, 2012

Six specialised teams, each with a doctor, will criss-cross the Netherlands as of Thursday to carry out euthanasia on patients at home whose own doctors refused to do so, a pro-mercy killing group said.

Recommended for you

UN: Goals helped lift one billion people from extreme poverty

date 22 minutes ago

A 15-year effort to implement eight goals adopted by world leaders at the start of the new millennium has helped lift more than one billion people out of extreme poverty, enabled more girls to go to school than ever before, ...

Illicit drug use may affect sexual function in men

date 1 hour ago

In a study of 1159 males who illicitly used amphetamines, half of participants said drug use had no impact on their sexual functions, while the other half reported impacts such as reduced erectile rigidity and sexual satisfaction, ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

praos
Feb 20, 2013
Yeah, so it was with Hitler: first abortions, then euthanasia. Holocaust was also very politicaly correct.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.