PDA

View Full Version : Belgium removes age-limits for child euthanasia



Minskaya
15 Feb 14,, 07:51
Belgium votes to extend euthanasia law to children of all ages
14 February 2014

Belgium became the first country to allow euthanasia for terminally ill children of any age on Thursday when its lower house of parliament passed new "right-to-die" legislation by a large majority. The law goes beyond Dutch legislation that set a minimum age of 12 for children judged mature enough to decide to end their lives. It has popular support in Belgium, where adult euthanasia became legal in 2002. In the Chamber of Representatives, 86 lawmakers voted in favour, 44 against and 12 abstained. Most opposition parties supported it, as well as the governing socialists and liberals. One man in the public gallery shouted "murderers" in French when the vote was passed.

Children seeking to end their lives must be "capable of discernment", the law says, and psychologists must test them to confirm they understand what they are doing. Parents must also approve of their child's decision. Supporters of the law say these safeguards would rule out the very young and teenagers not mature enough to decide. Opponents have dismissed these rules as arbitrary and warned the new law will lead to a slippery slope of ever wider interpretation and a "banalisation" of euthanasia.

The Netherlands has had five cases of child euthanasia since the law went into effect there in 2002. The total number of Dutch euthanasia cases has been 2,000 to 4,000 a year. Between 2006 and 2012, there was just one case of a Belgian under the age of 20 requesting euthanasia. Over 1,000 people opt for euthanasia in Belgium annually. Apart from Belgium and the Netherlands, euthanasia is also legal in neighbouring Luxembourg, and France is considering legalising it later this year. Switzerland allows assisted suicide if the person concerned takes an active role. In the United States, assisted suicide is legal in Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington states.
Source: Voice of Russia (http://voiceofrussia.com/uk/news/2014_02_14/Belgium-votes-to-extend-euthanasia-law-to-children-of-all-ages-6070/)

A difficult topic. Most countries disallow the execution of any murderer under the age of 18 because minors are "too immature to understand the consequences of their decisions or the meaning of life and death" (US Supreme Court 2005 - Roper v. Simmons). Yet somehow they are now mature enough (at any age) to request their own execution in Belgium. Ethical hypocrisy? Unbounded mercy?

Your thoughts?

Bigfella
15 Feb 14,, 13:53
Bad idea, if well motivated. Children can't make these decisions. The only positive is that if the Netherlands are any guide it will not get a lot of use.

Alternate question - should parents be allowed to make the decision for the child? (can they already, I haven't researched it).

sated buddha
15 Feb 14,, 13:55
Its just a horrible thought. May God protect all kids everywhere.

Bigfella
15 Feb 14,, 14:08
Its just a horrible thought. May God protect all kids everywhere.

If they have a terminal disease & are dying a slow, painful death I think we can assume God is taking the day off or is busy planting fake fossils or appearing in a Taco somewhere.

sated buddha
15 Feb 14,, 17:15
If they have a terminal disease & are dying a slow, painful death I think we can assume God is taking the day off or is busy planting fake fossils or appearing in a Taco somewhere.

God never has the luxury of taking the day off.

He creates. He preserves. And he destroys.

May those little kids find peace and come back healthy in another life. And may their parents find peace and the courage to live with their terrible loss too.

kato
15 Feb 14,, 20:06
Alternate question - should parents be allowed to make the decision for the child? (can they already, I haven't researched it).
A quick look at the Belgian situation says the child has to make the request itself, is then examined by psychologists on whether it is mature and capable enough to make the decision, and the parents then have to agree as well.

Also, the conditions for children are harsher:
- has to suffer from terminal illness (not required for adults)
- has to suffer from heavy pain that can not be treated
- has to not suffer from a psychological/psychiatric illness (unlike adults)
- has to be psychologically evaluated by a professional on whether mature enough to take decision (unlike adults)
- has to have parental consent (not required for adults)

In the Netherlands youths over age 16 do not require parental consent, and youths over age 16 who are not capable of communicating are treated identical to adults in the same situation (i.e. a previous written, notarized declaration of the will to die in such a situation is required).

In both countries no third parties - including parents - are allowed to request euthanasia for a person, the request always has to come from the person itself.

In a survey of 3000 Belgians about 75% were in favour of the initiative, the main opposition comes from a number of religious organizations.

Doktor
15 Feb 14,, 20:11
A quick look at the Belgian situation says the child has to make the request itself, is then examined by psychologists on whether it is mature and capable enough to make the decision, and the parents then have to agree as well.

Also, the conditions for children are harsher:
- has to suffer from terminal illness (not required for adults)
- has to suffer from heavy pain that can not be treated
- has to not suffer from a psychological/psychiatric illness (unlike adults)
- has to be psychologically evaluated by a professional on whether mature enough to take decision (unlike adults)
- has to have parental consent (not required for adults)

In the Netherlands youths over age 16 do not require parental consent, and youths over age 16 who are not capable of communicating are treated identical to adults in the same situation (i.e. a previous written, notarized declaration of the will to die in such a situation is required).

In both countries no third parties - including parents - are allowed to request euthanasia for a person, the request always has to come from the person itself.

In a survey of 3000 Belgians about 75% were in favour of the initiative, the main opposition comes from a number of religious organizations.

They can't vote or sign legally binding contracts, but can request euthanasia?

Some people's logic is flawless.

kato
16 Feb 14,, 16:11
They can't vote or sign legally binding contracts, but can request euthanasia?
Youths above age 12 are considered legally able of taking binding decisions (on matters favourable to them) in Belgium.

chanjyj
16 Feb 14,, 18:25
- has to be psychologically evaluated by a professional on whether mature enough to take decision (unlike adults)


How the heck are you going to come to a decision on this?

bonehead
16 Feb 14,, 19:19
I can see where this could be done to a newborn that is terminal and is only alive because it is hooked up to life support and has no hope of improving. Children brain dead from accidents/injuries. In both cases it should clearly be the parents choice. As a parent it would be most difficult to see one of my kids lying in agony while the doctors can do nothing. At some point you have to weigh the compassion for life vs compassion for quality of life and the wishes of the patient. From what is given the law only gives the patient the ability to chose when they will die as they will soon die anyway. On that it is a good law. The big question is if this sets a precedence and open the law so kids with minor health issues end their life? That road should be avoided at all costs.

Gun Grape
16 Feb 14,, 23:24
The bottom line for all the slippery slope people, Is that the parents must give consent.

A depressed teenager cannot walk in and be euthanized because they are having a bad day.

I think its a great law.

bonehead
17 Feb 14,, 00:01
The bottom line for all the slippery slope people, Is that the parents must give consent.

A depressed teenager cannot walk in and be euthanized because they are having a bad day.

I think its a great law.

Parents should have a choice in the matter of their children. However what if the government comes together one day and removes the parental consent provision. Then all bets are off.

sated buddha
17 Feb 14,, 05:48
Parental consent might work in richer countries (though I cannot say for certain sitting here in India). But surely its not a legal tool or loophole one would place in the hands of parents or guardians in poorer countries where there are oftentimes many mouths to feed and limited resources and sometimes it just may happen that the law is used not entirely in the interest of the child, especially when the biological parents (one or both) are no longer involved. Also speakng of slippery slopes, how different really is euthanasia for kids to medical termination and pregnancy and/or the abortion of a fetus? Just the pain and suffering factor and "free choice"?

Doktor
17 Feb 14,, 06:29
What has number of children has to do with the love of the parents? Our grand grand mothers dedicated much more time and care to their kids then most of us are able to do today even with the best efforts.

Abortion? :pop:

sated buddha
17 Feb 14,, 06:49
What has number of children has to do with the love of the parents? Our grand grand mothers dedicated much more time and care to their kids then most of us are able to do today even with the best efforts.

Abortion? :pop:

When there are many mouths to feed, and food and money for medical care is scarce, the love of a parent could be severely tested in the case of a child with a chronic illness requiring lifelong care and expensive medicines. The strand of this love gets even more tenuous when the parent or guardian is not related by blood, yet legally empowered with decisions and rights over the child.

We are talking about poverty which makes parents sell perfectly healthy children. Poverty which makes a parent choose between which child gets the last (or only) chapatti, or which child gets treatment in a hospital with medicines from a pharmacy, and which child is nursed at home with home remdies and faith in God. We are talking about poverty, where the girl child is often killed in utero or when born.

Have you seen that kind of poverty around you as you munch on your popcorn?

Doktor
17 Feb 14,, 08:00
When there are many mouths to feed, and food and money for medical care is scarce, the love of a parent could be severely tested in the case of a child with a chronic illness requiring lifelong care and expensive medicines. The strand of this love gets even more tenuous when the parent or guardian is not related by blood, yet legally empowered with decisions and rights over the child.

We are talking about poverty which makes parents sell perfectly healthy children. Poverty which makes a parent choose between which child gets the last (or only) chapatti, or which child gets treatment in a hospital with medicines from a pharmacy, and which child is nursed at home with home remdies and faith in God. We are talking about poverty, where the girl child is often killed in utero or when born.
Our ancestor had many children in their families. Often times kids died from illnesses, but they were never sold or killed on purpose. Make no mistake they were as poor as it can get, working for someone else.


Have you seen that kind of poverty around you as you munch on your popcorn?
Since you insist, I do. We have it even today in the Roma families. Kids have no cloths, no food, no shelter, they beg (often in order to buy booze to their "fathers"), steal and what not. However, they don't kill their kids on purpose.

On the other hand, we have working people living in their own apartments, with food on the table 3 times a day that give up on their kids and send them in foster homes.

sated buddha
17 Feb 14,, 08:05
Doktor, you cannot compare the kind of poverty your Roma gypsies have in Europe to what we see in Asia. You really have no idea my friend, do you?

And its not as black or white as "killing on purpose" is it? Putting a child to sleep is killing on purpose. The child dies. Not going through with treatment, or ICU facilities and taking a child home AMA is not killing on purpose. The child still dies.

You want to ask a child in hospital with needles and tubes in him/her if he/she wants to go home, gues what they would say. Is that mature informed assent? Or ask a kid with 8 brothers and sisters if he /she wants more medicine, when he/she knows that saying yes would mean his brothers and sisters are going to probably starve or his elder sister is going to have more "uncles" coming to take her somewhere in their cars. Mature assent?

Doktor
17 Feb 14,, 10:11
Doktor, you cannot compare the kind of poverty your Roma gypsies have in Europe to what we see in Asia. You really have no idea my friend, do you?
One of us has no clear idea, this is for sure.


And its not as black or white as "killing on purpose" is it? Putting a child to sleep is killing on purpose. The child dies. Not going through with treatment, or ICU facilities and taking a child home AMA is not killing on purpose. The child still dies.
If you know the end result before-hand and that is death, it's a murder. Hardly any way to bend this.


You want to ask a child in hospital with needles and tubes in him/her if he/she wants to go home, gues what they would say. Is that mature informed assent? Or ask a kid with 8 brothers and sisters if he /she wants more medicine, when he/she knows that saying yes would mean his brothers and sisters are going to probably starve or his elder sister is going to have more "uncles" coming to take her somewhere in their cars. Mature assent?
See the post #7.

Now, I am waiting cdude to jump in and offer you few missiles to cure these kids.

sated buddha
17 Feb 14,, 12:03
double post

sated buddha
17 Feb 14,, 12:03
One of us has no clear idea, this is for sure.

Well at last count I have traveled and seen close up the societies of 6 different EU countries, 3 of them with large Roma populations.

How often have you traveled to India or even Asia?

I repeat, you have no clue. The Roma are at worst as poorly off as our urban slum swellers or banjara (folk they are linked to genetically incidentally from way way back). I do not want to get into educating you about the real poverty in this part of the world and what it can and does make people do. You need to see it to understand, and you obviously have not, to even make this type of comparison.

Let's leave it here, and move on with the discussion.

kato
17 Feb 14,, 14:51
but they were never sold or killed on purpose.
Selling children as virtual indentured servants - domestic servants or farmhands - just so their family that lived off scarce subsistence farming somewhere in the mountains had one less mouth to feed was actually still pretty common in Central Europe up till a century ago.


Our ancestor had many children in their families. Often times kids died from illnesses
Depends actually. Looking around both sides of my family tree at people born around 100 to 150 years ago, on my father's side (farmers, lower middle class) it was far more common apparently to die around age 15-25 (and: both genders - with the women very often not married yet, hence not necessarily in childbirth) than within the first few months after birth. On my mother's side in the same timeframe (urban residents, upper middle class) you had the usual "four kids out of 14 survive early childhood" thing though.

Doktor
17 Feb 14,, 15:08
Selling children as virtual indentured servants - domestic servants or farmhands - just so their family that lived off scarce subsistence farming somewhere in the mountains had one less mouth to feed was actually still pretty common in Central Europe up till a century ago.
Could be something about the weather here. I have a theory that we are generally lazy people because even if you just sit the food will drop in your mouth here.


Depends actually. Looking around both sides of my family tree at people born around 100 to 150 years ago, on my father's side (farmers, lower middle class) it was far more common apparently to die around age 15-25 (and: both genders - with the women very often not married yet, hence not necessarily in childbirth) than within the first few months after birth. On my mother's side in the same timeframe (urban residents, upper middle class) you had the usual "four kids out of 14 survive early childhood" thing though.
Well we were mainly village people. Ottomans were mainly in the cities.

Triple C
17 Feb 14,, 15:18
What are Belgium's laws regarding children who had committed heinous crimes? Are they considered competent to stand trial under special circumstances? If not, this euthanasia law would create a certain... inconsistency?

kato
17 Feb 14,, 16:10
Belgium actually has the highest legal age of responsibility in Europe at 16-18.
(Netherlands: 12)