Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Monday 17 May |
Saint of the Day: St. Rasso of Grafrath

Shock: 17-year-old in Belgium becomes first minor to die by euthanasia

Public Domain

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 09/18/16

Details: 

A 17-year-old has become the first child to die by euthanasia in Belgium after the country adopted new rules in 2014.

Officials confirmed the death following the announcement to remove age restrictions on euthanasia requests two years ago.

The move has made Belgium the only country where children of any age are able to choose to have the fatal injection.

In the neighbouring Netherlands the practice is possible for children aged at least 12.

Those aged under 18 in Belgium must do so with their parents’ consent and they need to be in the final stages of a terminal illness.

The law passed by parliament insisted the minor would have to be in ‘unbearable physical suffering’ before euthanasia could be considered.

The AP adds:

“It’s terrible when a youngster suffers, but it gives me some comfort to know that now there is a choice out there for children in the final terminal stages,” [Senator Jean-Jacques] De Gucht said. “It’s important that society doesn’t neglect people in such pain.”

The Belgian law has very strict rules for the euthanasia to be approved. It requires the minor to be in the final stages of a terminal illness, to understand the difference between life and death rationally and to have asked to end his or her life on repeated occasions. It also requires parental consent and finally the approval of two doctors, including a psychiatrist.

The law — one of the most far-reaching in the Western world — had wide public support when it was introduced in 2014, but was opposed by some pediatricians and the country’s Roman Catholic clergy.

Catholic teaching forbids euthanasia and the president of the Italian bishops conference on Saturday described the news of the euthanasia of a child as painful and worrisome.

“It pains us as Christians but it also pains us as persons,” Genoa Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco told Italian news agency ANSA.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
ascension AND ASSUMPTION
Philip Kosloski
Ascension vs. assumption: What is the difference?
2
SAINT MATTHIAS
Philip Kosloski
Why Matthias was chosen to replace Judas as an apostle
3
BENOIT JOSEPH LABRE
Larry Peterson
Benedict XVI called him “one of the most unusual saintsR...
4
KNEELING
Philip Kosloski
How to pray the Divine Praises
5
Philip Kosloski
What was the message of Our Lady of Fatima?
6
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
7
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
See More