Belgium teen first minor to be granted euthanasia

Radio NZ 18 September 2016
Family First Comment: And so it begins     
#slipperyslope 

A terminally ill 17-year-old has become the first minor to be helped to die in Belgium since age restrictions on euthanasia requests there were removed two years ago.

The head of the country’ federal euthanasia commission said the teenager was “suffering unbearable physical pain”.

Euthanasia commission head Wim Distelmans said the teenager was nearly 18.

“Fortunately there are very few children who are considered [for euthanasia] but that does not mean we should refuse them the right to a dignified death,” he told the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper.

The case had been reported to his committee by a local doctor last week, Mr Distelmans told Reuters.

Belgium is the only country that allows minors of any age to choose euthanasia.

They must have rational decision-making capacity and be in the final stages of a terminal illness.

Their parents must also give consent.

The Netherlands also allows euthanasia for minors, but they must be aged over 12 years old.

Belgium lifted its age restrictions in 2014. The law passed by parliament said the child would have to be terminally ill, face “unbearable physical suffering” and make repeated requests to die before euthanasia is considered.

Many people, including church leaders and some paediatricians, questioned whether children would be able to make such a difficult choice.
READ MORE: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/world/313583/belgium-teen-first-minor-to-be-granted-euthanasia

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