Proposals from Belgian government officials would give teenagers the right to assisted suicide and parents of terminally ill children the right to have their children euthanized. The plans by members of Belgium’s coalition government call for the extension of rules allowing physicians to perform euthanasia on terminally ill people suffering “constant and unbearable physical or psychological pain.”
Since 2002, the law allows patients — other than newborn babies — to be over 18 years of age to qualify for assisted suicide. Bart Tommelein, leader of Belgium Liberals, wants to change the law by extending euthanasia to children and elderly persons who are unable to choose for themselves.
Belgium’s legal standards allow euthanasia on infants. Of those Belgian babies who die before their first birthday, more than half are killed by deliberate medical intervention. In 16 per cent of the cases, parental consent was not considered.
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