Belgium Child Euthanasia

February 11, 2014 - 1:05 PM
In this photo taken on Feb. 7, 2014, Belgian professor and doctor, Gerlant Van Berlaer, poses at the University Hospital UZ in Brussels. Belgium, one of the very few countries where euthanasia is legal, should take the unprecedented step this week of abolishing age restrictions on who can ask to be put to death. Dr. Gerlant van Berlaer, a prominent Brussels pediatrician, said the beneficiaries should be teenage boys and girls who are in the advanced stages of cancer or other terminal illnesses, and suffering unbearable pain. Under current law, they must let nature take its course_or wait until they turn 18 and can ask to be euthanized. The Belgian Senate voted 50-17 on Dec. 12 to amend the country’s 2002 law on euthanasia to also apply it to minors, but only under certain additional conditions, including the need for parental consent and the requirement that any minor desiring euthanasia demonstrate a “capacity for discernment” to a psychiatrist and psychologist. The House of Representatives, the other chamber of Parliament, is scheduled to debate on Wednesday, Feb.12, 2014 whether to agree to the changes, and vote on them Thursday. Passage is widely expected. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)