Children will be required to tell a psychologist they understand what euthanasia is
February 13, 2014
Making the argument that everybody has the right to die, Karine Lalieux, a Socialist member of the Belgian House, is pushing legislation that would extend the country’s 2002 euthanasia law to minors under 18.
“Our responsibility is to allow everybody to live, but also to die, in dignity,’’ said Lalieux.
Sonja Becq, a Christian Democratic, strenuously disagreed. She said science is capable of relieving pain in terminally ill children. “We cannot accept that euthanasia be presented as a ‘happy ending,” she said.
The proposed law requires that ill children be able to demonstrate to a psychologist or psychiatrist that they possess the “capacity of discernment.” Parents would also have to agree to the child’s decision.
“Can you tell me what a ‘state of discernment’ means?” Becq asked during debate on the measure.
“Where there is the smallest doubt about the discernment of the child, the question of euthanasia will not be posed,” answered Daniel Bacquelaine of the centrist Reform Movement.
The Belgian Senate passed the euthanasia measure in December. If it passes in the House it will go to King Philippe who will sign the act of euthanizing terminally ill children into law.