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Choice Devours Itself: Child euthanasia in Belgium as "choice"

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.

Comments (12)

I'm very close to being prepared to endorse Jutte van der Werff Ten Bosch's 'suicide.'

very mediocre quality of life

Well thank goodnesss they have such narrow and specific criteria!

"It's our duty. Children today are not like they were 50 years ago. They have mature minds,"

They've lost their minds. I have friends who considered suicide who are now doing completely fine - even thriving. These people were teenagers when they considered suicide. We're talking about children here. Children!

Soon it will become the “compassionate” thing for doctors to euthanize teenagers undergoing “extreme emotional duress”. If you think that’s not going to follow, then I want you to look at this law and tell me that they’re not willing to go there. Go ahead. I dare you.

Utterly revolting. What monsters.

Belgium, France, Sweden, Netherlands….leaders of the pack in terms of secular/atheist/humanist global demographics.

And they say that atheist countries are among the happiest in the world.

Why wouldn’t they be?

Living life like there is no tomorrow.

MarcAnthony, the really bizarre thing about the remark that you've quoted there is just how perfectly, diametrically opposite it is to the truth. The idea that teenagers today have more "mature minds" than 50 years ago must be some kind of sick joke that got botched in translation.

Not that teenagers of any era were very good judges of their own minds.

And how on EARTH can a ten year old or younger child be expected to have the perspective to judge whether or not the future ahead of them will be worth the suffering going on in the present? They can't possibly have the wisdom or experience to make that choice. They just haven't around long enough.

It's absolutely insane.

Belgium has already euthanized adults who are unhappy, such as a pair of deaf twins who believed (perhaps correctly) that they were going to blind and didn't want to face that.


Also a "transgender" woman (who tried to turn herself into a man) who was unhappy after her surgery because it didn't turn out the way she expected it to.

So, yes, any idea of any limitations on the suicide train in Belgium is laughable. And once we've said that children can participate, then what Marc Anthony says does follow.

What will presumably then happen is that parents and friends will influence children to ask for death.

It is the worship of Moloch, live on earth today.

It certainly is.
Lord forgive us all! :-(

People scoff at the warnings about a moral slippery slope but what barrier exists between the argument that a child can consent to their own suicide and the argument that a child can consent to sex with an adult?

Wasnt Belgium the headquarters for a massive child pornography syndicate uncovered a couple of years ago?

Kids Help Line is a 24-hour nationwide service that provides access to crisis support, suicide prevention and counselling services for Australians aged 5-25


God have mercy on us for the society we are creating. :-(


I have a friend here in the U.S. with an undergraduate degree that is taken as a credential for working on a suicide prevention hotline. Before graduating she did such work as an unpaid internship for her degree. My understanding is that she was not even working for a government agency, though I wouldn't be surprised if it did take government money. She was solemnly told that she _could not_ discuss religion with the person, though if a suicidal person _asked_ her to pray (presumably spontaneously) she could do so. It was extremely and explicitly restrictive as far as using any religious references to try to talk a person out of suicide. I was much struck by this, for it would be so natural, especially with a person who showed any spontaneous signs of a religious background or knowledge to do so and could in fact be helpful in preventing suicide! But nope.

Anyway, Wesley J. Smith also talks about the schizophrenic nature of Western society in which suicide is promoted on the one hand and then we have prevention hotlines on the other hand.

And the law passed this week. 86:44
12 abstained - couldnt make up their mind.

Here's a telling sentence:

The law will go into effect when signed by Belgium's monarch, King Philippe. The king was not expected to oppose the measure.

Why not? One wonders.

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