BELGIUM, September 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Belgium’s federal euthanasia commission confirmed Saturday the country’s first instance of child euthanasia, which became legal in 2014.
Belgian media suggested the minor killed via lethal injection was 17. Some media also suggested the teen was Dutch. In the Netherlands, euthanasia is legal for children over 12.
Wim Distelmans, the head of the Belgian euthanasia commission, said the minor had a terminal illness and was “suffering unbearable physical pain.”
Belgian law allows minors with terminal illnesses who face “unbearable suffering” to receive euthanasia if their parents consent.
Belgium legalized euthanasia for adults in 2002. Since then, the number of people who have died via legal, lethal injections administered by doctors has steadily risen. More than 2,000 adults were killed by euthanasia last year. In 2014, more than 1,900 were killed.
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told LifeSiteNews that “sadly,” this case isn’t surprising.
“None of this should surprise us,” Schadenberg told LifeSiteNews. “Once you’ve allowed killing and you’ve said killing is OK, then the only question is who? That’s all that’s left.”
“Once you’ve said it’s OK to kill, why would you not allow a 17-year-old in the same condition as 18-year-old, or even a 13-year-old who’s in the same condition as an 18-year-old, to have a lethal injection?” Schadenberg asked. He said Belgium’s euthanasia of a minor should be a warning to Canadians.
“Once you say it’s OK for the doctor to lethally inject you,” as Canadian law now allows for adults, then “the sky is the limit,” he said.
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, said the news “pains us as Christians, but it also pains us as persons.”
This was “an abuse of a minor,” and an “abomination,” said Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, president emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life and an international bioethics expert. He called death as therapy a “legal monster without equal.”
“Europe cannot watch in silence,” Sgreccia said.
“This is about a doctor agreeing to cause the death of [a] person,” Schadenberg said.