Belgium to Consider Legalizing Under-18 Euthanasia

By Gudrun Schultz

The government of Belgium is considering a proposal to legalize euthanasia for children and youth up to age 18.

The Flemish Socialist party, a member of Belgium’s coalition government, has called for an extension to the country’s euthanasia laws to give teenagers under 18 the right to choose assisted suicide, and parents of younger children the right to “choose” it for them.

Euthanasia was legalized in Belgium in 2002. Under the current law, a patient must be over 18, terminally ill and in constant suffering in order to qualify for euthanasia. The country has considered extending the law to include children ever since the present law was first passed.

Last month the Netherlands announced it would allow the legal euthanasia of babies and children under 12 years. Dutch doctors admitted to the unauthorized killing of infants prior to the legislation; at least 15 babies were killed every year, many of them born with non-fatal genetic disorders.

Source:, BRUSSELS, Belgium, April 7, 2006.

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