The Netherlands has agreed on plans to make euthanasia legal for terminally ill children under the age of 12.
In a letter to parliament, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said a government-commissioned investigation by medical experts had found that terminally-ill minors were suffering “unbearably.”
“The study shows that there is a need for active termination of life among doctors and parents of incurably ill children, who are suffering hopelessly and unbearably and will die within the foreseeable future,” the letter said.
Child euthanasia is currently only legal in the Netherlands for minors between the ages of 12 and 16, and newborns, with their parents’ consent. From 16 onwards, only the patient’s consent is required.
Now, if a child between one and 12 is suffering, parents and doctors can choose palliative sedation or renounce medical treatment. But even with these options, the child could take days or even weeks to die.
De Jonge predicts the move will affect between five and ten children per year.
The Netherlands’ euthanasia laws have been widely criticized and drawn controversy for over a decade.
Lila Rose with the pro-life group Live Action responded to the news calling it “unbelievably evil” in a Twitter post.
Another proposal earlier this year aimed to allow assisted suicide for healthy individuals over the age of 75.
It was reported Dr. Gordon MacDonald, head of the UK-based alliance Care Not Killing, called the proposal “deeply troubling.”
“To now consider extending the euthanasia law to people who are just tired of life, and may well be depressed, is highly irresponsible, immoral and dangerous,” Dr. MacDonald said in a statement.
Earlier this year, a doctor in the Netherlands was cleared of murder after euthanizing a woman with advanced Alzheimer’s who repeatedly said that she did not want to die.
The Netherlands and neighboring Belgium became the first countries in the world to legalize euthanasia in 2002.
HD Editors Note: Why Is This News Biblically Relevant?
Ken Ham in his article “Euthanasia . . . for Children?” discussed how life has become increasingly devalued and the Christian’s responsibility to boldly stand for every human life:
We are living in a day and age when human life has increasingly little value, especially if that person is suffering. The value of a life is now defined by perceived quality of life and health (including mental health—patients in Belgium, and elsewhere, have been euthanized for poor “mental health”). This slippery slope downwards will only continue as our world ignores God’s Word and its teaching about the sanctity of human life.
You see, every human life has unique value and dignity simply because we’re created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). We aren’t just animals, and our lives have infinitely more value than any animal because we alone are image-bearers of the Creator. We have been commanded not to murder (Exodus 20:13) and that’s what euthanasia is—murder, dressed up as “compassion.” Christians must not fall into this pattern of thinking but, instead, should think according to God’s Word and what it teaches about life and death.
Those of us who know Christ have a responsibility to stand up for life and be against euthanasia, abortion, and other evils that end the life of a human being made in the very image of God. Ultimately, we don’t hold the power of life and death. God does, and we should not try to play God, choosing who lives and who dies. Instead we must boldly stand for every human life regardless of age, disability, illness, or stage of development.