Belgium Passes Controversial Child Euthanasia Law and We're All For It (Hear us out!)

Euthanasia for terminally ill children is officially legal in Belgium. At first glance, it seems deplorable.

It isn’t.

Belgium approved euthanasia for patients back in 2002, but limited the law's reach to adults; this new law is actually an addition to the original. The conditions are precise: the kid must be terminally ill – literally about to die – and facing chronic, immense pain that no medicine (holistic or otherwise) can fix. Beyond that, the child has to ask to be euthanized. (This prevents parents from doing what Mischa’s Barton’s mom did in “The Sixth Sense.”)

Not only must they ask for it themselves, but a team of doctors, psychologists and various care-givers must oversee and assist in the final decision.

Still sad about sad it and genreally freaked out?  Pediatric oncologist at University Hospital Brussels, Dr. Jutte Van der Werf Ten Bosch (say that ten times fast), discussed the matter from healthcare’s perspective. She recalls terrible ends of young lives, lost in miserable hospitals. These patients pounded on death’s door in vain – wishing to die and end their suffering. She says:

I feel like a total failure in these promise the child ‘I will take care of you, I will do the best I can,’ and then you can’t do the best you can because all these complications arise and you can’t do anything about it.

It’s hard for us ‘Mericans to wrap our brains around this: euthanasia is illegal and physician-assisted suicide is only legal in Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Montana. For Europeans, memories surface. The Nazi party murdered approximately 5,000 “unfit” (i.e. physically and mentally disabled) children during their regime. Many fear that the law is paving the way for this to occur. Let’s say this again: the child MUST ask for it without any intervention. Even then, it must be approved by several.

Socialist Party senator, Philippe Mahoux added as a chillding reminder that child euthanasia is not cruel, but endless suffering is:

What is scandalous is the suffering of sick children when they are going to die.

Simple as that. Otherwise, all parents can really do is attempt to make their terminally ill child “comfortable.” On a deeply personal note, at the ripe age of five, I watched as my teenaged babysistter slowly die of cancer. And let me just say, it's impossible to make those suffering to that degree "comfortable."

Image: Belgium

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