Belgian Senate Passes Bill to Euthanize Children

John Henry-Westen
December 12, 2013


In 50-17 vote today, the Belgian Senate approved a bill that would allow euthanasia for children.  The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for final approval before being sent to the King to be signed into law. Most political observers are predicting the passage of the bill.

Currently the law in Belgium allows euthanasia requests for those over 18 and of sound mind, although it is acknowledged that these restrictions are widely ignored. The bill allows euthanasia, with parental consent, for children experiencing intolerable physical pain and who are suffering from a terminal medical condition.

Since legalization of euthanasia in 2002, Belgium has seen a nearly 500 percent increase in deaths by euthanasia. Various studies have found that patients in hospitals are increasingly being killed without their consent or the consent of their families.

Tom Mortier, an anti-euthanasia advocate and lecturer in chemistry at Leuven University College in Leuven, Belgium, whose own mother was euthanized by one of the nation’s foremost doctors, called today’s vote “insanity.”

He pointed to research showing the growing abuses of euthanasia in the country. “You can’t be a little bit in favor of euthanasia,” he told “Then, you are lost…. you will open Pandora’s box and this is what is happening in Belgium.”

In 2010, research published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) found that 32 percent of euthanasia deaths in the Flemish region of Belgium are done without an explicit request. A second study by the CMAJ the same year found that nearly 45 percent of euthanasia deaths involving nurses in Belgium were without a specific request.

Research published the same year by the British Medical Journal also found that only 52.8 percent of all euthanasia deaths were officially reported, as is required by the law.

According to some reports, there are increasing cases of elderly Belgians who are afraid of be hospitalized over the potential that they may be euthansized.

“This law isn’t about the patients, but it gives a licence to kill for the doctors,” said Mortier.

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