Belgium debates euthanasia for minors

February 20, 2013

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.

Explore further: Belgium looks at euthanasia for minors, Alzheimer's sufferers

Related Stories

Belgium looks at euthanasia for minors, Alzheimer's sufferers

December 18, 2012
Belgium is considering a significant change to its decade-old euthanasia law that would allow minors and Alzheimer's sufferers to seek permission to die.

Belgian euthanasia law allows first death of a prisoner

September 13, 2012
A gravelly ill prisoner serving a long jail sentence has become the first inmate to die under Belgian euthanasia laws introduced 10 years ago, press reports said Thursday.

Reported Dutch euthanasia cases rise

September 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, Belgians mark decade of 'mercy killings'

March 30, 2012
Ten years after they became the first countries to legalise euthanasia, the Netherlands and Belgium now provide assisted suicide to 4,000 people a year.

Dutch group launch mobile mercy killing teams

February 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.

Netherlands euthanasia and assisted suicide rates in 2010 comparable to rates before legalization

July 10, 2012
After legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide by the Dutch government in 2002, the number of cases was found to have decreased in 2005. Although the frequency of euthanasia and assisted suicide in the Netherlands ...

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

praos
1 / 5 (1) 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.