Recently, the news came to light that Belgium was poised to expand its euthanasia program to allow minors and adults suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s to be eligible. Now, reports are coming out that the Parliament is set to vote on the measure this week, where it is expected to be passed.
The bill, introduced by the Socialist party in December, would lay out guidelines for doctors to decide on a case-by-case basis whether or not a child is mature enough to make the decision to end his or her own life, as well as whether a child’s health is grave and hopeless enough to warrant euthanasia.
… The decision to consider the bill comes on the heels of months of testimony by medical experts, doctors, clergy members and others, and it marks a turning point in the nation’s approach to the rights of young people, some of whom would be able to choose to die if the law were to pass but would still be legally barred from driving, marrying, voting or drinking liquor until they turned 18.
The bill would also likely allow expansion of euthanasia to patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and other diseases leading to advanced dementia, who may otherwise be deemed incompetent to make the decision to die. There were 1,133 cases of euthanasia recorded in 2011, accounting for about 1 percent of the country’s deaths that year, according to AFP.
So a child, who can’t be trusted to be mature enough to drive, get married, vote, or drink, will be able to choose to end his or her life. And this, of course, makes perfect sense, because as noted before, teenagers’ brains are not fully developed yet, and they are literally incapable of reasoning and making logical, mature long-term decisions. So obviously they should be allowed to make life-or-death decisions, right?
Even more disturbing is that doctors will be able to choose whether people who are most vulnerable – ill children and elderly adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s – get to live or die.
Whether a child’s life could be considered “grave or hopeless” is pretty subjective. After all, there are already plenty of people in the medical field who think that babies with Down syndrome don’t deserve the chance to live. What if a euthanasia-friendly doctor sees a baby with Down syndrome who has a serious heart defect? Or what if the child has a more serious disability? Will doctors get to override the parents’ wishes? Or the parents might even choose to go along with it, in which case, Belgium will be allowing parents to legally murder their children.
Any way you paint it, it’s a disturbing picture. And then there are the patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia, who can’t consent to euthanasia but could be killed anyway.
The fact that this is expected to pass is horrifying. How is it that so many people can have so little respect for life?