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(Euthanasia Prevention Coalition) – Dutch Health Minister Ernst Kuipers announced the government’s intention to extend euthanasia to children but without changing the law, DutchNews.nl reported Tuesday.

Kuipers intends to extend the Groningen Protocol, which currently applies to babies, to include children under the age of 12. An article by Peter McLaren Kennedy for EuroWeekly stated:

“The proposed protocol contains seven criteria for euthanasia for those between one and twelve. Doctors will have to be convinced the child’s suffering is unbearable and there is no possibility of a cure or a treatment to alleviate the pain.

The diagnosis would have to be fully discussed with the child’s parents as well as the possibility of euthanasia, for which both parents will have to give their permission.

Doctors will also discuss the procedure with the child in a way the child will understand and will only proceed if the child is in no way opposed to it.

In addition, doctors will have to consult at least one independent doctor who will be required to evaluate if all the criteria have been met before euthanasia can take place.

The concept is currently out to consultation with Kuipers to present the final concept in October, when he will also announce when the protocol will come into force.”

In October 2020, Netherlands Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced that the government would amend or permit child euthanasia. According to DutchNews.nl:

“De Jonge added that current laws would not need to be amended. Rather, doctors would be exempted from prosecution for carrying out an approved euthanasia on a child.”

At that time, an effective campaign opposing child euthanasia was established by a group of Dutch citizens and the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition ran a petition with more than 100,000 people opposing child euthanasia. The Netherlands’ government did not extend euthanasia to children.

This latest announcement may set a very dangerous precedent. The Groningen Protocol permits euthanasia of new-borns who are experiencing current or possible future suffering. If you use the same definitions for children under 12, there will be many euthanasia deaths of children who may have treatable conditions. Further to that, there are many medical conditions that possibly lead to future suffering.

As much as I oppose euthanasia in general, it would be more honest if the Netherlands’ parliament debated and passed clear legal guidelines rather than avoid the contentious debate and approve a killing protocol that will enable doctors and parents to make lethal decisions in a back room.

Reprinted with permission from Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

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