A Dutch health minister is proposing the legalization of euthanasia for children, in a disturbing new development from a country that is already known for its permissive policies on death.
According to the Netherland Times, Hugo de Jonge proposed the policy before the States General of the Netherlands, the country’s legislature. Currently, some children are allowed to be euthanized in the country, if they are infants under the age of one, or minors over the age of 12. De Jonge, however, wants the inclusion of all children.
Currently, doctors can either sedate children or withhold nutrition until they die. Under the 2004 Groningen Protocol, parents can request euthanasia for babies, while those over the age of 12 need parental consent or notification.
De Jonge argued that “a small group of terminally ill children who agonize with no hope, and unbearable suffering” should be permitted to be killed more easily, without doctors suffering prosecution for their involvement. In his four page brief, he said, “I want to ensure more legal safeguards for doctors who, on the basis of their professional standard, proceed with life-ending actions of children aged 1 to 12 years.” According to the Guardian, a majority of MPs supported the legislation when it was first introduced last year.
In 2019, a Dutch doctor was acquitted of all charges after forcibly euthanizing an elderly patient. Marinou Arends instructed the patient’s family to hold the patient down as she struggled and fought against the euthanasia. To this day, Arends argues that she did nothing wrong. Meanwhile, doctors have euthanized people for autism, sexual abuse, depression, and addiction.
Further broadening euthanasia to permit children to be killed without consequences is a sad, yet seemingly predictable turn of events in a country where a quarter of all deaths are already induced. The promotion of child euthanasia exposes the inherent problems with assisted suicide advocacy. Young children are not capable of giving consent to die, and in such a case, it would be the children’s parents making the request — meaning that groups of adults would be deciding whether someone’s life is still worth living or fighting for. This is not health care or medical progress, but another symptom of the culture of death.
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