Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002 for those in “constant and unbearable physical or mental suffering that cannot be alleviated.”
The law was extended to children in 2014, but stipulated that the child “must understand what that means.”
Belgium is the only country that legalizes euthanasia for children of any age.
Last week the first Belgian child was euthanized.
The child’s name and age are unknown but was suffering from an incurable disease. From the video the child looks less than nine months old.
Sen. Jean-Jacques De Gucht told VTM, a CNN affiliate,
“I think it’s very important that we, as a society, have given the opportunity to those people to decide for themselves in what manner they cope with that situation.”
Wim Distelmans, the Chair of the Federal Control and Evaluation Committee on Euthanasia, told the Belgian broadcaster RTBF that euthanasia is:
a mercy killing, and even if a child does not ask for it, “that does not mean we should deny them the right to a dignified death.”
And Jacqueline Herremans, President of the Right to Die with Dignity Association in Belgium, told RTBF,
“This can only be in cases of serious and incurable diseases, which is the same thing for adults … but for minors an additional condition is that the death must be expected in the near future.”
This comes after years of citizen protests against the legalization of euthanasia.