Reports confirmed first child euthanized under Belgium law that allows euthanasia at any age

By Dave Andrusko

Dr. Wim Distelmans

Dr. Wim Distelmans

Little by little a few details are surfacing about an unidentified 17 year old child who was euthanized last week in Belgium who was suffering from a (conveniently) unidentified “incurable illness.”

“The euthanasia has taken place,” Jacqueline Herremans, a member of Belgium’s federal euthanasia commission, told Agence France-Presse.

CNN headlined its story, “First child dies by euthanasia in Belgium” with a subhead, “A terminally ill minor was granted euthanasia within the past week.”

“Granted”?

Belgium has no age “limitations.” We read elsewhere that the nearby Netherlands also allows euthanasia for children, “but only for those aged over 12.” How considerate.

But, as Michael Cook has written (“Dutch pediatricians seek child euthanasia,”), pediatricians in the Netherlands are eager to close what might be called the “mercy killing gap.”

In reporting on the first child to be euthanized, we read such descriptions (in this case from the AFP news service)as “Since 2014, when its euthanasia legislation was amended, Belgium has been the only country in the world that allows terminally-ill children of any age to choose to end their suffering — as long as they are conscious and capable of making rational decisions.” In the next sentence we read about “mercy killings.”

According to AFP, “Altogether over 2,000 mercy killings were declared in Belgium last year, a record number since the practice was made legal in 2002.”

Sen. Jean-Jacques De Gucht, a supporter of euthanasia legislation, told CNN. “I think it’s very important that we, as a society, have given the opportunity to those people to decide for themselves in what manner they cope with that situation.”

We are told the teenager “asked” to be euthanized. The only other restrictions are that the child “be studied by a team of doctors and an independent psychiatrist or psychologist, and have parental consent.”

The notorious Wim Distelmans chimed in, telling the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper

Fortunately, there are very few children who are considered (for euthanasia) but that does not mean we should refuse them the right to a dignified death.

NRL News Today readers may recall that in 2014, Dr. Distelmans led a group of about 70 people on a tour of Auschwitz, the Nazi extermination camp in German-occupied Poland, which Distelmans described as “an inspiring venue.”

To name just one other example of Distelman’s activism, Michael Cook wrote, “Oncologist Wim Distelmans killed Godelieva De Troyer, a Belgium citizen who was not terminally ill, because of ‘untreatable depression’ in April 2012 after receiving consent from three other physicians who had no previous involvement with her care.”