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Culture of Death
Belgium Approves Child Euthanasia Law

Belgium is now officially the first country in the world to have legalized euthanasia for children under 12 years old. RT reports that Belgian King Philippe signed the bill, which was passed by the Belgian House last month. The bill allows chronically (note: not terminally!) ill children to request to be euthanized, provided parents, doctors, and psychiatrists consent. The most important bit is at the end of the story:

Belgium became the second country in the world after its neighbor, The Netherlands, to legalize euthanasia following the 2002 Belgium Act on Euthanasia.

Since that time, the number of reported cases of euthanasia in Belgium has reached 1,400 per year.

That 1,400 figure comes from 2012: This was a 25 percent increase over the previous year’s rate. The 2012 figure means that about 2 percent of deaths that year were from euthanasia.

When you pair this chillingly high rate of adult euthanasia with the fact that children of all ages are necessarily susceptible to being manipulated by elders, you get a recipe for skyrocketing rates of child deaths only superficially connected to meaningful consent.

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  • Jim__L

    Who would want to be ruled by Brussels, when this their culture?

    It’s getting to the point where I look at European culture’s declining ability to spread its values across the world, and I think, “Good.”

  • bigfire

    Next door, Dutch doctors have been quietly euthanizing their patient for decades with or without consent. This is just formalizing and legalizing something already in place.

    • Ottens

      “Without consent”? What nonsense! You’re correct that the legalization in the Netherlands hasn’t actually led to a skyrocketing increase in euthanasia — so that should put to rest some of WRM’s fears — but procedures are very strict and there are numerous doctors who refuse to carry it out. This notion that the Netherlands and Belgium are euthanizing people on a large scale is simply detached from reality. Indeed, it seems to me it’s not informed by facts at all, but prejudice against euthanasia. If you’re opposed to it, fine, make your case, but don’t invent horror stories.

      • bigfire
        • Ottens

          Thanks for the link. I’m very curious about the figures, though.

          To back up the claim on “involuntary” euthanasia cases, it refers to another study, which actually shows that euthanasia rates declined in the Netherlands after it was legalized…

          What could account for this is that the second study counts as “involuntary” euthanasia cases in which life-support is turned off for patients who, after an accident or illness, no longer register any brain activity and have no hope of recovery. This happens, in consultation with family, of course (given that the patient is unable to give consent), but it has actually nothing to do with the euthanasia law in the Netherlands. I’m not sure, though, because I can’t read that second study (“End-of-life practices in the Netherlands under the Euthanasia Act”) in full.

          The study you link altogether strikes me as biased and, frankly, unreliable. Notice, for example, how it calls “most concerning” the suggestion that old people who are simply tired of life should be granted a right to euthanasia. Even if, as noted in the study, it’s the Dutch Medical Association that made this suggestion. I don’t think we should assume doctors are keen to euthanatize people…

          It also claims that the legalization of euthanasia “may prompt [doctors] to consider euthanasia for some of their patients; a case has already been cited of a dying patient who was euthanized to free a hospital bed” in the Netherlands. But when I look into the study that’s cited to back up this claim, it turns out that incident was in 1990, years before euthanasia was legalized in the country! In this case, the author is plainly misleading.

          So, sorry, but I’m still categorizing this under “invented horror stories.”

          • bigfire

            That’s just the first example. Seriously look harder. Dutch physicians have admitted relieving their patient’s suffering for years, with or without legal cover, and with or without consent.

          • Ottens

            Sorry, but I’m not going to look for examples to back up your claim.

            It seems this is partly a wording issues. When you say doctors have been “relieving patients’ suffering” without consent — possibly. I referred to that in my comment above. And I don’t consider not administering life-support to be equivalent to euthanasia. If you do, then OK, our argument is one of definition. And that’s not an argument I care to have.

            The claim that Dutch doctors have been “quietly euthanizing” people without consent, though, for decades no less, is, as far as I know, simply false — which is what I disputed in the first place.

  • mgoodfel

    It’s not that hard to kill yourself, and I think that’s what should be required. If you don’t have the determination to do it, then your situation isn’t that bad. The only exception would be someone physically incapable ending their lives.

    What I think these people want is “permission to die” from some authority figure who will tell them they’ve done everything expected of them. I don’t actually disapprove of suicide if you’ve really had enough. But I’m not sure at all that society should be making it easy.

  • qet

    I have been a right-to-die supporter my whole life, but lately these expansions and aggressive pushes for higher utilization have me rethinking that support.

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