Euthanasia of minors is concerning, Dutch churches worry


Western Europe


Children's hospital in the Netherlands. Photo ANP, Lex van Lieshout

Protestant churches in the Netherlands worry about the new end-of-life proposal for children between 1 and 12 years old. According to the churches, the bill allows euthanasia for incapacitated people. It is to be discussed by a special commission of the Dutch Lower House.

The Protestant denominations wrote a letter to the House of Representatives to express their concerns. That was reported by the Dutch daily Reformatorisch Dagblad, last week. The denominations say to understand that there "severe, life-threatening diseases can lead to complex and distressing situations." Yet, they point out that children "cannot make an independent choice when dealing with the active ending of life." According to the churches, children do not have sufficient incapacitation to resist others choosing to end their lives actively.

The government has the responsibility to protect life, especially for those who cannot do so themselves and other vulnerable people, the churches write. "We fear that this proposal leads to a discussion about the possibility of euthanasia for other groups of people who are incapacitated, such as people with severe dementia. That is very threatening for people in vulnerable circumstances."

In addition, the new bill means that third parties can decide about the quality of life of the person in question, the letter reads. "Who are we to judge the quality of life of our neighbour? That is not for us to judge, but for the God of heaven and earth, the Creator of all life."

Instead, the letter's authors plead for the development of better palliative care and painkillers. "Further investment is desirable and necessary.”



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