Holland To Allow Euthanasia of Children

March 6, 2006

syringeAccording to a Sunday Times article, Holland is in the process of establishing regulatory committees to regulate the practice of euthanasia in children who are suffering with incurable diseases. The process is intended to avoid the painful terminal stages of some forms of congenital disease. Physicians embroiled in the controversy over this issue argue that the intent is to provide a humane alternative to suffering for these children. Detractors argue that it is an unethical practice because the children do not have the ability to express their will in the decision. An argument for the practice by Eduard Verhagen, a pediatrician in Groningen who has been at the heart of the controversy, follows:

“If a child is untreatably ill,? Verhagen explained, “there can be horrendous suffering that makes the last few days or weeks of this child’s life unbearable. Now the question is: are you going to leave the child like that or are you going to prevent that suffering?? He went on: “Does the child have to sit it out until the end? We think that the answer is no. There can be circumstances where, under very strict conditions, if all the requirements are fulfilled, active ending of life can be an option — but only in cases of untreatable disease and unbearable suffering.?

It’s not a situation that you would ever like to picture yourself in. But if it were so, could you do it? Could you make the decision to end your young child’s life?

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