The Dutch government on Friday gave the green light to the euthanasia of children under the age of 12, allowing young minors to suffer “unbearable and hopeless” suffering.
Children over the age of 12 must have parental consent until they turn 16 and may request euthanasia. Infants under the age of 1 are also legal with parental permission.
The cabinet’s new decision comes after years of calls by Dutch doctors to lower the current age limit for euthanasia from 12 years old.
The rule change requires governments to change existing protocols without requiring parliamentary approval.
“The Cabinet is working on an end-of-life plan for children up to the age of 12 who are suffering excruciatingly and without hope,” the health ministry said.
Each year, this applies to “a small group of about five to 10 children whose palliative care options are not sufficient to relieve their distress and who are expected to die in the foreseeable future,” the statement said. Stated.
New changes for children aged 1 to 12 bring the Netherlands in line with Belgium, the first country in the world to pass a law allowing euthanasia of young children in 2014, but with the consent of the child.
But under the Dutch protocol, if a child does not consent, euthanasia can also be carried out with parental permission after consultation with a doctor, health ministry spokesman Axel Dies told AFP.
The new ruling came after years of debate and faced opposition even from two Christian parties within Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s own ruling coalition.
Health Minister Ernst Kuipers said: “This is a very complex issue dealing with a dire situation that no one wants.
“After intensive consultation with all stakeholders, we are pleased to have arrived at a solution that can help these terminally ill children, their parents, and their practitioners,” Kuipers said.
The Netherlands and neighboring Belgium became the first countries in the world to legalize euthanasia in 2002.
More than 8,700 people were euthanized in the Netherlands in 2022, according to government statistics. Many were suffering from incurable cancer.
https://www.expatica.com/nl/general/dutch-to-allow-euthanasia-for-under-12s-569435/ Holland allows euthanasia for children under 12