Two years after the restrictions on euthanasia were relaxed in Belgium, a terminally ill 17-year old became the first minor mercy-killed in a case of physician-assisted suicide.
Although not many details regarding the identity of the euthanised teen have been revealed, government officials have confirmed that the incident has occurred. As the country's history goes, euthanasia was legalised back in 2002.
Consequently, there have been 8,752 cases of mercy-killings recorded in the country, as EuroNews reports. And then, in 2014, an amendment to the law removed the age restrictions on the practice, making Belgium the only country in the world where children could be euthanised.
For those who believe human life to be sacred, this report is saddening. Arina Grossu, the director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council based in Washington D.C., expressed her views on this issue, calling it "tragic" that a child was killed in Belgium via euthanasia.
"This child's physicians and guardians failed him at his time of greatest vulnerability and need, only made possible by Belgium's atrocious euthanasia law." She added that human life is valuable for its own sake, not because of perfect health or lack of suffering.
According to Yahoo News, the amendment has been the subject of several debates, with lawmakers arguing about the capacity of minors to make decisions about undergoing physician-assisted suicide. Eventually, those minors with hopeless medical situations of constant and unbearable suffering that cannot be eased and which will cause death in the short term have been granted the right to euthanasia.
A report on Christian Post reveals that Wim Deistelmans, the head of Belgium's Euthanasia Commission, told a Belgian newspaper that there were very few children who were considered for euthanasia, but that did not mean they should refuse them the right to a dignified death.