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Child euthanasia legalized in the Netherlands

The Dutch Ministry of Health will allow euthanasia for terminally ill patients under the age of 12, provided they are in unbearable pain and terminally ill.

Minister of Health Ernst Kuipers — A politician from the left-wing liberal party Democrats 66 (D66) announced in a note to Parliament that his ministry was working on a decree that would allow the euthanasia of children under strict conditions.

In the Netherlands, there is currently no legislation on access to euthanasia for terminally ill children between the ages of 1 and 12 who are in unbearable pain. The Minister of Health does not intend to change the law on euthanasia, fearing that this will provoke public debate, but instead will settle the issue by decree in order to find a “practical solution” as soon as possible.

The Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia in 2002, but its use is subject to strict regulations. Voluntary death may be granted to persons over 12 years of age who suffer from a persistent, almost unbearable, incurable disease that is practically impossible to alleviate, and who submit a written application for euthanasia in several stages, while still in a state of pure consciousness.

The euthanasia of infants under one year of age falls under the Groningen Protocol, which came into force in 2005. In the case of incurable infants, a sparing death may be applied if the child’s physicians and independent physicians agree that the pain cannot be reduced, there is no prospect of improvement, and the parents want it. The Ministry of Health will also develop a regulation on euthanasia for children under the age of 12 in accordance with these guidelines.

Minister Kuipers set several conditions for the application of the new regulation: a pediatrician must make sure that his patient is suffering unbearably and there is no way to relieve his pain. The second independent expert must give an opinion on the patient’s condition. The physician must also share the diagnosis and prognosis “in full” with both parents and discuss it with the child in a manner “according to his or her perception”. This discussion should include the fact that the termination of life is the only reasonable option for ending suffering. The doctor must make sure that euthanasia is not carried out against the will of the child, and that both parents agree.

The Ministry of Health intends to inform the Dutch Parliament in October about the details of the draft decree on child euthanasia.

Recall that the new version of the law on euthanasia, adopted in Canada, actually allows the euthanasia of those seriously ill people who cannot afford expensive treatment, writer Charles Camosi said May 11 on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News.

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