Human Exceptionalism

They Kill Sick Belgian Children Don’t They?

Well, they went and did it: Belgium has legalized child euthanasia. There is no age limitation. 

Here is how it is supposed to work from the Washington Post story:

The child must have a terminal and incurable illness, with death expected to occur “within a brief period.” The child must also be experiencing “constant and unbearable physical suffering.” Like for adults desiring euthanasia, that diagnosis and prognosis must be agreed upon by the treating physician and an outsider brought in to give a second opinion.

The child is to be interviewed by a pediatric psychiatrist or psychologist, who must determine that the child possesses “the capacity of discernment” and certify that in writing.

After that, the parents are to consent and the child has to ask to be killed in writing. Good grief!

Killing sick children is wrong on its face–but given the history of Belgian euthanasia (and the euthanasia/assisted suicide movement generally), there is no way these “protective guidelines” will stick or be enforced.

For example, one reason cited for legalizing child euthanasia was that doctors were already doing it even though it was against the law. This is typical euthanasia metastasizing: Doctors break the guidelines and then the answer is to expand the guidelines rather than punish the doctors.

Now, that process will begin anew with children. Don’t be surprised if five years from now, the (cruel, in my view) requirement that the child ask to be killed is eliminated, as well as the “terminal” requirement to match Belgian law for teenagers and adults. And what does parental consent have to do with it when there is “suffering” to eliminate?

Once again I am reminded of the-too-true observation of Canadian journalist Andrew Coyne. When analyzing the popularity of Robert Latimer, who–relevantly–murdered his daughter Tracy because she had cerebral palsy, Coyne wrote:

A society that believes in nothing can offer no argument even against death. A culture that has lost its faith in life cannot comprehend why it should be endured.

Culture of death, Wesley? What culture of death?

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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