CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 22 September 2018

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Killing rather than treating children

ROME (SE): A decision made in the Belgium parliament to debate a bill to extend legislation on euthanasia to include minors has been described by Luca Volontè, chairperson of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute in Rome, as the country setting itself on a relentless march towards a culture of death.

He said in a November 4 press release, “The mission-creep that is inevitably pursued once euthanasia is legalised (is a) relentless march towards a culture of death, with less and less justification being needed, as ending the lives of the vulnerable becomes ever more socially acceptable.”

If the bill is passed, Belgium will be the first country in the world to extend the right to euthanasia to minors. 

The press release also points out that the ruling Belgium Socialist Party wants to extend the right to patients in the early stages of dementia.

Last year, 1,432 people chose to end their own lives in Belgium, up from 235 when the legislation first came into effect in 2002. 

In 2012, there was a sudden jump of 25 per cent in the figures and doctors signed off on blindness, anorexia and depression.

“Now the target is children—children who are not deemed legally responsible to smoke, buy alcohol or get married, yet will supposedly be able to rationally decide whether their young lives are worth living,” Volontè commented.

“That a government would actually deem this feasible and acceptable is both sickening and deplorable,” he continued.

Opponents of the bill say they may appeal to the European Court of Human Rights if the bill passes. They say that is a likely scenario, as three-quarters of Belgians support a parent’s right to choose euthanasia for the patient, even without the child’s own consent.

“The accepted mantra of doctors was once do no harm,” Volontè pointed out. “Yet the experience of Belgium is a callous rejection of this ethos, with the preferred prescription for the most vulnerable gradually becoming killing over care.”

 

He concluded by saying, “Once a society accepts the principle of death as an acceptable course of treatment, it is only a matter of time before any restrictions placed upon that principle are diminished and removed. Euthanising children is the latest, tragic development of this flawed, nihilistic logic.”

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