Last updated on: 7/23/2013 | Author:

Mar. 2, 2014 – Belgium Legalizes Euthanasia for Terminally and Incurably Ill Children

On Mar. 2, 2014, Belgium became the world’s first country to lift all age restrictions on euthanasia. King Philippe of Belgium signed legislation that allows children with terminal and incurable illnesses to choose to be euthanized. The child must be “near death, in ‘constant and unbearable physical’ pain with no available treatment.” The child must also have “capacity of discernment and be conscious at the moment of the request.” The request has to be made in writing, confirmed and agreed upon by the treating physician, confirmed by a second opinion from an outside doctor, and then the child must undergo psychological testing to confirm that the child understands the request fully and that test has to be certified in writing by the psychiatrist. The treating physician is then required to meet with the child’s parents or legal representative to obtain their consent in writing. The Netherlands has similar legislation but prohibits euthanasia for children under 12 years of age.