For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 10 Nov 2013.
The Belgian Government is considering extending its euthanasia laws to children on the grounds that it is unjust to deny euthanasia to children. Euthanasia has been legal for people over the age of 18 since 2002. The number of reported cases rose from 235 deaths in 2003 to 1,432 in 2012.
In the Netherlands, euthanasia is legal under specific circumstances for children 12 and over with parental consent, and there is an understanding that infants can be euthanised and doctors will not be prosecuted for murder if they act within the guidelines.
But Charles Fostr, who teaches medical law and ethics at the University of Oxford, argues that “children couldn’t possibly have the capacity to make an informed decision about euthanasia since even adults struggle with the concept.”
It’s a “brave new world” that many of us hope never intrudes into the real world where children are intrinsically valued and where suffering is part of what it means to be human.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.