Netherlands pediatrician seeks to euthanize children under 12

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
In this photo dated October 2014, Alex Schadenberg talks about research on euthanasia and assisted suicide. | Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Facebook

NETHERLANDS (Christian Examiner) -- The right to die with dignity should now be extended to children according to some doctors in the Netherlands.

The Dutch Pediatric Association announced June 19 it seeks to allow terminally ill children under 12 years of age to request euthanasia.

"We feel that an arbitrary age limit such as 12 should be changed and that each child's ability to ask to die should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis," The Global Post reported Eduard Verhagen, a pediatric professor at Groningen University. Verhagen is also a member of the association's ethics commission.

Currently Dutch law established in 2002 allows children age 12 and older to request to die if they show unbearable suffering without hope of improvement, have requested to die, and have parental consent. A medical consultation and careful execution of the termination is also part of the established protocol.

Since legalizing the death of children in the nation, five youth have been euthanized. Reportedly, one of the children was 12 years old and the other four were between 16 and 17. Now Verhagen seeks to broaden the laws so as to open the option of death to those under 12 as well.

"If a child under 12 satisfies the same conditions, pediatricians are currently powerless," said Verhagen. "It's time to address this problem."

In 2014 Belgium became the first country in the world to pass a law allowing young child the right to euthanasia if they were able to discern it was their best option.

According to LifeSite News, no restrictions can truly safeguard against abusing policies that allegedly require terminal illness as a condition of performing the procedure. The pro-life news source made an example a Belgium woman who will die this summer for "psychological reasons."

"Euthanasia for psychological reasons is done when a psychiatrist agrees that the psychological pain that a person is experiencing cannot be relieved in a way that the individual finds acceptable," the news source reported Alex Schadenberg said in a recent blog. Schadenberg is executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

"That means, Laura may be treatable, but Laura has decided that the only acceptable 'treatment' is death," Schadenberg wrote. Only the woman's first name is known.

Medical associations supporting euthanasia appear to be a concerning trend as of late.

In May the California Medical Association announced it changed its position on assisted suicide and would no longer oppose a bill authorizing doctors to provide medical aid in dying for adults who have been told they have less than 60 days to live.

However, not all California medical communities endorse the controversial practice. The Northern California Oncologists and the Medical Oncology Association of Southern California remain opposed.

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, has also gone on the record opposing the bill, citing his son Matthew's suicide at age 27 in 2013.