When Belgium extended euthanasia to children in February 2014 by eliminating the age limit for lethal injection, we had hoped that no child would die in this manner. The first official child euthanasia in Belgium was reported in September 2016.
The 2017 Belgian euthanasia data shows that the number of euthanasia deaths continues to increase, euthanasia deaths for conditions related to aging have skyrocketed, and three children have died by euthanasia.
A recent report has provided more information about the child euthanasia deaths in Belgium. Charles Lane reported in The Washington Post that the 17-year-old was living with muscular dystrophy, the nine-year-old had a brain tumor, and the 11-year-old had cystic fibrosis. Lane reported:
“We do know the 11-year-old euthanized last year had cystic fibrosis. This congenital respiratory disease is incurable and fatal, but modern treatments enable many patients to enjoy a high quality of life well into their thirties or even beyond. Median life expectancy for new CF cases in the United States is now 43 years, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.”
“Proot [a member of the Belgian commission] assured me that everything was in order, not only with the 11-year-old’s case but also with the other two, a 17-year-old with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and a 9-year-old with a brain tumor.”
“Proot was, of course, relying on reports by the anonymous physicians who participated in the euthanasia deaths, and we, in turn, must take Proot at his word. Journalists and other members of the public are not permitted to review the case files independently, even in redacted form.”
Lane then questions the application of the Belgian euthanasia law:
“Such questions seem especially pertinent for Belgium, given the problems it has experienced since legislators allowed euthanasia for patients with cognitive and psychiatric illnesses, such as dementia, depression, or schizophrenia, even if they have no terminal ailment.”
“Last year, a member of the euthanasia commission resigned in protest because it refused to recommend prosecution when a woman with dementia who had not requested euthanasia was nevertheless put to death at her family’s request.”
“Since then, 360 Belgian doctors, academics, and others have signed a petition calling for tighter controls on euthanasia for psychiatric patients.”
Sadly, under-reporting of euthanasia and euthanasia without request is common in Belgium. Lethally injecting people without requests is considered a criminal act in every jurisdiction in the world, but under the banner of assisted death these acts become a difficult but necessary part of protecting the “human right” to kill in a post-post-modern society.
[This piece by Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Executive Director Alex Schadenberg was posted on August 9, 2018 at alexschadenberg.blogspot.com]
Image courtesy of LifeNews