The Belgian government this week approved new measures allowing the euthanasia of terminally ill children, a decision that on first reading would make most of us gasp.
It is a distressing concept, and the idea of helping a child die sounds incredibly cold and morally and ethically unsound — until you dive into the issue. While it raises painful and conflicting emotions, and choices, the Belgians — who have pushed assisted suicide to the edge before — are on the right, groundbreaking track.
As one might expect, it was a highly controversial issue, and the bill was opposed by the Roman Catholic Church as well as some pediatricians. From the Guardian:
The law lifts Belgium’s age restrictions on euthanasia and can sanction it where children have a terminal and incurable illness, are near death, and suffering “constant and unbearable physical” pain, and where parents and professionals agree to the choice.