On Monday, October, 13, Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced that the Dutch government will amend its euthanasia law to permit child euthanasia — an announcement that came only three days after the news that the issue of child euthanasia had divided the Netherlands coalition government.
The NL Times reported that de Jonge said the new law was planned to be legislated after the next election, on March 17 next year.
Already, the Netherlands law permits euthanasia for children as young as 12 (when parents or guardians consent). People over the age of 16 can consent to euthanasia as adults and the Groningen Protocol permits euthanasia for disabled newborns. The new legislation would expand the law to include children from one to 12 years of age.
Earlier this year, a bill to extend the Netherlands euthanasia law to people who are healthy, but “tired of living” was submitted by a member of the D66 party, Pia Dykstra. An article in the NL Times reported that:
The legislative proposal allows people over the age of 75 who feel that they have come to the end of their life and have a persistent wish to die to ask for euthanasia.
This proposal is obviously a starting point. People can be “tired of living” for many reasons and it can be argued that it would be discriminatory and unfair to limit such a law to people over the age of 75.
It appears that the Netherlands has decided to ignore the mantra that euthanasia is limited to those who are capable of consenting and suffering. Children cannot effectively consent and people who are “tired of living” would not be required to be “suffering”.
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