Netherland’s government allows euthanasia for children under twelve
The government of the Netherlands has announced it will allow the euthanization of terminally ill children under the age of twelve
Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge, in his letter to the parliament on the 13th of October, wrote:
“There is a need for active termination of life by doctors and parents of incurably ill children, who are suffering hopelessly and unbearably and will die within the foreseeable future.”
In the Netherlands, euthanasia is already legal for children under one year, with the consent of the parents (and of course, without the consent of the baby), and of minors aged 12 to 15 with their consent and that of their parents. Voluntary euthanasia is available to those aged 16 to 17 without parental consent.
De Jonge said that allowing euthanasia for children under 12 would prevent their “suffering hopelessly and unbearably.”
The Health Minister also emphasised “the great importance of the best possible care for this group of terminally ill children.”
The government expect between five and ten children a year to be euthanised under the new rule.
The Netherlands legalised euthanasia and assisted suicide in 2002 for mentally competent and terminally ill adults.
It has since been expanded to allow the practices for persons with non-terminal chronic illnesses, disabilities, and mental health problems.
In 2019 there were 6,361 cases of euthanasia in the country, according to the report of the Guardian.