SANTIAGO, Chile, May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Last week, legislation advanced in Chile’s congress that would allow euthanasia for children as young as 14.
The Committee on Public Health in the lower chamber of Chile’s congress approved a bill that would allow 14-year-olds to obtain the means for medically-assisted suicide.
The bill requires authorization from a legal representative for patients 14 to 16 years of age. If a request is denied, the patient may seek intervention from a family court judge to determine whether he or she “meets the legal requirements for obtaining medically-assisted euthanasia.”
For patients 16 and older, the bill states that attending physicians are obliged to “inform the patient’s legal representatives,” but the patients are allowed to proceed with euthanasia at will and without further authorization.
The euthanasia movement received a boost in 2015 when 14-year-old Valentina Maureira appeared in a video appealing to then-President Michelle Bachelet that she be given the means to end her life. “I urgently want to talk to the president,” said the girl, who added, “I‘m tired of this sickness, and she can give me the injection to make me sleep forever.”
In January, 20-year-old Paula Diaz died naturally after having unsuccessfully requested permission from President Sebastián Piñera to access euthanasia. Diaz, who had suffered a rare disease that caused intense pain and spasms, had requested permission for medically-assisted euthanasia during the administration of leftist President Bachelet.
Chilean Minister of Health Jorge Acosta told La Tercera that the president “is frustrated that the response that the government gives to a child in pain is that the best thing that can happen is to end his life.” Acosta went on to say, “That is not consistent with respect for the dignity of all human beings and particularly of children who are suffering. That is a failure of medicine, it is a failure of palliative care and it is a failure of the state.”
Congressman Jorge Duran responded to Acosta, “Let’s not mix apples and oranges,” adding, “We are talking about the suffering of child and that goes beyond palliative care.”
Duran represents the National Renovation party in Congress and was the only member of his party to vote in favor of the bill. President Piñera led the National Renovation party to victory in 2017. The party has the greatest number of members in the lower house.