New law allowing killing of children takes effect

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from WND:

Parents and doctor can make decision if kids are ‘unwilling’

On February 1, a Dutch law allowing the euthanasia of terminally ill children went into effect. The law legalizes the killing of children ages one through 12 who are deemed to be “suffering hopelessly and unbearably.”

Previously, the country allowed euthanasia of children older than 12, along with infants under age one who could be killed if their parents and doctors agreed and they faced an illness labeled as terminal or faced serious suffering. In 2023, lawmakers passed a controversial expansion of the eligibility guidelines to include children of all ages.

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According to reports, the new guidelines state that “the child’s opinion should be sought as far as possible in a way appropriate to the child’s understanding and age,” though parents can decide to have their child euthanized in conjunction with a doctor even if the child is unwilling or unable to consent.

Though the Ministry of Health expects that the new guidelines will affect only a “small group” of cases — about five to ten children a year — opponents are warning that there is nothing to keep this broadened rule from spiraling out of control.

In an op-ed, Elise van Hoek-Burgerhart and Yvonne Gueze-van Horssen, both from the group NPV-Care for Life, warn that the “distressing” regulation has many flaws, including the fact that children are unable to consent to their own deaths. “While the ‘voluntary and well-considered request’ is an important building block of Dutch euthanasia policy, this request is absent for children. Children are impressionable and are (often) not mentally competent,” they wrote.

Physician-assisted death in the Netherlands has continued to climb since it was first legalized. The period from 2021 to 2022 saw a 14% increase in euthanasia deaths, with a record number of 8,720 people dying via assisted death. Of those, 115 people were killed simply due to psychiatric illness — not because of any terminal diagnosis. In July 2023, it was revealed that numerous autistic people and people with intellectual disabilities had been euthanized solely because they felt they couldn’t lead “normal” lives.

As van Hoek-Burgerhart and Gueze-van Horssen warn, the expanded euthanasia guidelines will likely only lead to more increases in the future. “The consequences of the scheme are far-reaching. The problem with a legal framework is that it turns an exception into a rule that creates new dilemmas,” they wrote. “This opens the door to taking further steps that threaten people in vulnerable positions.”

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