ROME, September 7, 2004 ( – The vice-president of the Pontifical Academy for Life has roundly condemned a new Dutch proposal extending the possibility of euthanasia to children under the age of 12. Bishop Elio Sgreccia said that with this policy, “the final boundary will have been crossed.”  In a strongly worded article on euthanasia in Holland, appearing in L’Osservatore Romano , Bishop Sgreccia warned of a “moral relativism” that has “anesthetized society,” aggravated by an approach to medicine that accentuates economic factors rather than the welfare of the sick.  The Italian bishop observed that Dutch law, approved by that country’s parliament in April 2002, allows for assisted suicide, in cases when the patient is suffering from an incurable disease and gives “explicit, rational, and repeated” consent for his own death. This law allows euthanasia not only for adults but also for teenagers who make a written request and (if they are under 16) have their parents’ approval. But a new proposal would extend the option of assisted suicide to children under 12. Bishop Sgreccia insisted that for children that young, “we certainly cannot speak of valid consent.”  The bishop noted that the latest protocol for euthanasia, developed by clinicians at a university clinic in Groningen together with judicial authorities, is not available to the public. However, reports about the contents of that new policy are “profoundly disturbing,” he said.  The Dutch law is “on an inclined plane,” Bishop Sgreccia wrote, moving steadily from assisted suicide toward “outright euthanasia” of patients who are incapable of giving their consent. He argued that the policy could soon allow for the deaths of elderly patients who cannot defend themselves.  Bishop Sgreccia reminded readers of the Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life, which he observed is “well known, constantly repeated, and confirmed.” The Church condemns all deliberate killing, he said, whether the victim is “a fetus, embryo, child, adult, someone who is aged, incurable sick, or suffering.”