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Dutch Govt: Time to widen child euthanasia policy

Assisted Suicide
30 June 2022
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The Dutch Government has been strongly criticised for proposing that children aged 1 to 12 in the country should have access to euthanasia.

Earlier this week, Netherlands Health Secretary Ernst Kuipers raised the idea in a briefing, claiming that the current rules are too restrictive.

At present, adults in the country are eligible for euthanasia and assisted suicide, and babies under one can also be euthanised by doctors.

Under the new proposal, children will become eligible for euthanasia if doctors believe they are suffering and there is no possibility of a cure.

They will have to seek the agreement of both parents and have a conversation with the child, to ensure that they're not opposed.

Reacting to the news, the Better Way campaign stressed that developments of this kind in countries that permit assisted suicide and euthanasia demonstrate a "slippery slope".

"A euthanasia option for children between one and 12 has been proposed by Ernst Kuipers, the Netherlands Health Secretary. There's that slippery slope assisted suicide activists say doesn't exist, again."

A spokesman for CARE commented:

"This proposal in the Netherlands is yet more evidence that incremental extension is the direction of travel in countries that legalise euthanasia. It never stops at terminal illness - there is inevitable pressure to extend eligibility to other, vulnerable groups and even children.

"It's also evidence of the recklessness that accompanies activism for euthanasia, which disregards serious safeguarding concerns. A vulnerable and impressionable child cannot possibly understand the gravity of a decision to let a doctor end their life.

"At the same time this policy is being discussed inside the Dutch Government, activists in the Netherlands are pushing for a 'completed life' law that allows any person in good health to decide they've had enough, and obtain lethal drugs to end their life. It's chilling.

"The only true safeguard against these troubling, extreme laws is keeping assisted suicide and euthanasia off the statute book altogether. If we truly believe in justice and compassion, we cannot risk legislating for this Pandora's box that eviscerates safety and equality."

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Where assisted suicide is legal, it makes vulnerable people feel like a burden. CARE works to uphold laws that protect those people, and to assist them to live—not to commit suicide.

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