14 Feb 2014

Child euthanasia law in Belgium

9:20 am on 14 February 2014

Parliament in Belgium has passed a bill allowing euthanasia for terminally ill children without any age limit. The vote was 86 in favour to 44, with 12 abstentions.

The result of the vote in the Belgian parliament.

The result of the vote in the Belgian parliament. Photo: AFP

When the bill is signed by the king, Belgium will become the first country in the world to remove any age limit on the practice.

It may be requested by terminally ill children who are in great pain and who have no treatment available.

Opponents argue children cannot make such a decision.

The BBC reports Belgium passed a law decriminalising euthanasia for terminally ill people over the age of 18 in 2002.

In the Netherlands, euthanasia is legal for children over the age of 12, if there is parental consent.

Under the Dutch conditions, a patient's request for euthanasia can be fulfilled by a doctor if the request is "voluntary and well-considered" and the patient is suffering unbearably, with no prospect of improvement.