Belgian Parliament: kids can consent to euthanasia

The Belgian Parliament will soon vote on a bill that would enable children to consent to euthanasia, so long as their doctors think that their consent is mature and that their condition is dire, and would also allow incompetent Alzheimer’s patients to be euthanised:

A consensus among members of the legislative body has reportedly formed in support of legislation to allow children to choose to undergo euthanasia in certain dire cases, according to a report in the Belgian daily newspaper Der Morgen, as translated by the Paris-based news agency Presseurop. [….]

The bill, introduced by the Socialist party in December, would lay out guidelines for doctors to decide on a case-by-case basis whether or not a child is mature enough to make the decision to end his or her own life, as well as whether a child’s health is grave and hopeless enough to warrant euthanasia. [….]

The bill would also likely allow euthanasia for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and other diseases leading to advanced dementia, who may otherwise be deemed incompetent to make the decision to die.

Doctors may already perform euthanasia on children, so long as they act in accordance with medical guidelines.

Fundamentally, this bill destroys any idea of meaningful, informed consent, and it highlights how fast euthanasia degrades into the standard for dealing with tough medical situations.  Alzheimer’s is a horrible, frightening, disease, one that many people would rather die than live with; however, once we remove the idea of meaningful consent, weighed against all other options, we’re well on the road to dystopia.

Children and teenagers cannot give meaningful consent, not because they aren’t mature for their ages, rather, because a kid who has only been on the planet for fifteen or so years lacks a meaningful understanding of ‘forever’ and ‘hopeless’.   Remember being a teenager?  Remember when ‘six months’ seemed like an eternity?  Remember when you thought that life would never change? And you didn’t even have a deadly disease.  A child’s short time on earth means that his perspective on ‘forever’ and ‘for the rest of your life’ is inherently limited, which is why we don’t allow children to make life-altering decisions.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Bioethics

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s