Belgium's Senate just passed a law legalizing "chosen" child euthanasia. Apparently the law has a few more hurdles to go through; I don't know Belgium's legal system or how a law becomes fully passed. But equally apparently, this law is on a roll and is going to go through.
I am particularly struck by the fact that, though there is no lower age limit on this law, the child is being spoken of as a fully competent legal agent, capable of choosing not just to get an ear pierced, not just to purchase cigarettes, but death. The child is supposed to submit a written request. The mind boggles, imagining a six-year-old being guided by his parents or doctors to print in big letters "I want to die" with a couple of misspellings.
Some vague language is thrown in about the child's needing to "possess the capacity of discernment." I guess that means that technically babies can't request to be killed, but I will eat my hat if any doctor is ever prosecuted in Belgium for euthanizing a baby. See here for confirmation of that suspicion, especially this paragraph:
Several neonatologists have drawn up a procedure which enables euthanasia of premature newborn infants or those presenting a handicap in one of the three following instances: either the infant has no chance of survival, or it is deemed to only have a very mediocre quality of life, or the outlook is poor and it is felt that the infant will suffer unbearable pain.
But as far as the present law formally legalizing child euthanasia is concerned, Belgium is still pretending that the death is chosen by the victim. In support of which, we get this bit of pop psychology from a group of sixteen (whoo-hoo, sixteen!) pediatricians who supported the law:
Experience shows us that in cases of serious illness and imminent death, minors develop very quickly a great maturity, to the point where they are often better able to reflect and express themselves on life than healthy people[.]
Um, yeah, because a child who is in pain and ill, whose authority figures tell him he has no hope, is in an even better position than a healthy person to make a free choice to be killed.
Wesley J. Smith draws attention to a pro-death activist who tells her children ahead of time that she is prepared to endorse their suicide, even though they are not (presently) sick or wanting to die:
Jutte van den Werff Ten Bosch has already had the talk with her 10-year-old son. Several times, in fact. No, not the sex talk. The euthanasia talk. “Even if he said, ‘I want to die’, I’d support him,” she explained. “I didn’t put my children in the world for me. It’s their life and their death. The best parents are the ones who let their children go."
Nominate that woman for mother of the year! As one of Smith's commentators says, time was when "letting your children go" meant sending them off to college and letting them handle the consequences of their own actions. But not to Jutte. As an evangelist for death, she wants to make sure her 10-year-old knows that she would "support" his decision to die. Be careful what you wish for, Jutte. When your son is thirteen and his school girlfriend breaks up with him, he may try to take you up on that.
As I've said numerous times before, this is not, finally, about choice. We can tell that it isn't, because the "choice" keeps being extended to people who either aren't competent (due to youth or mental incompetence) to make such a choice, who actually are not even requesting death, or who change their minds. So one is forced to conclude that what activists are really devoted to is the thing in itself--in this case, death.
The worship of death is not the road to freedom.