The Belgian authorities may approve the law providing for the use of euthanasia to persons under 18 years of age and for patients suffering from dementia, writes The Washington Post.
Should the law be passed, Belgium will become the only country in the world, to legalize taking the lives of terminally ill children. The proposal was put forward by the ruling Socialist Party. It may take months before the initiative is approved.
Supporters of the law say that a measure of this kind is a necessary one, but it can only be taken with the consent of parents, of course. Families will thus obtain an opportunity to ease the suffering of a child in a hopeless situation. Opponents insist that this is a very serious decision that children can not afford to take.
Euthanasia, or the deliberate deprivation of human life with their permission in order to ease their suffering was legislated in Belgium in 2002, although children did not fall under the law. In 2003, 235 critically ill patients were euthanized in the country; in 2012 the number of cases has risen to 1,432.
Euthanasia is also permitted (with restrictions) in the Netherlands and Luxembourg.