Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Belgium MPs adopt right-to-die for children  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 14/02/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN -Arab News) BRUSSELS: Twelve years after legalizing euthanasia for adults, Belgium’s parliament extended the right to die to terminally ill children of any age Thursday, despite opposition from the Church and some pediatricians


After months of heated debate, the lower House of Representatives adopted the legislation by a large majority, making the largely Catholic country the second after the Netherlands to allow mercy-killing for children, and the first to lift all age restrictions


The ground-breaking legislation was adopted by 86 votes in favor, 44 against and with 12 abstentions. Belgium is one of three countries in Europe to allow euthanasia for adults


“It is not a question of imposing euthanasia on anyone ... but of allowing a child not to agonize in pain,” said Socialist MP Karine Lalieux ahead of the vote


Unlike the Dutch across the border, where euthanasia is allowed for children over 12, the law states that any incurably sick child may request to end their suffering if “conscious” and equipped with “a capacity of discernment.&rdquo


“The right to life and death cannot be restricted to adults,” said liberal MP Daniel Bacquelaine


Addressing controversy over the decision not to set an age restriction for “discernment,” he said a child’s “legal age isn’t the same as mental age.&rdquo


Socialist senator Philippe Mahoux, author of Belgium’s historic 2002 “right to die” legislation and himself a doctor, had called for the law to be widened to minors so as to offer a legal framework for medics for helping children in pain die as a question of mercy, but outside the law


Euthanasia is “the ultimate gesture of humanity” and “not a scandal,” he said. “The scandal is illness and the death of children from disease.&rdquo


The law offers the possibility of euthanasia to children “in a hopeless medical situation of constant and unbearable suffering that cannot be eased and which will cause death in the short-term.&rdquo


Counselling by doctors and a psychiatrist or psychologist is required, as is parental approval


Before its adoption by a huge majority in the Senate in December, the upper house consulted dozens of medical specialists, lawyers and interest groups


But during public debate, religious leaders of all faiths argued that extending euthanasia to the young risked “trivialising” death


In recent days, the Catholic Church staged “a day of fasting and prayer” in protest and this week some 160 pediatricians petitioned lawmakers to postpone the vote on the grounds it was both ill-prepared and unnecessary


“Pain can be eased nowadays, there’s been huge progress in palliative care,” said cancer specialist and signatory Nadine Francotte


In a stormy exchange in parliament on the eve of the vote, Christian Democrat member Sonja Becq argued that modern palliative medication could relieve pain in very sick youngsters, therefore allowing illness to run a natural course to death


“Euthanasia is not the only way to die in dignity,” she said. “Euthanasia is not ‘a happy end’.&rdquo


But Brussels palliative specialist Dominique Lossignol said it was mistaken to believe palliative care could remedy suffering


“We do not have control over all types of pain, either physical or moral,” he told AFP. “We doctors have been asking for an extension of the law for years.&rdquo


Thursday’s vote saw Socialists, Liberals and Greens members largely line up in favor, with centrist Christian-leaning parties opposed


But party whips said it was up to individuals to decide how to vote on this life and death issue


Critics said the legislation failed to address problems and potential loopholes such as possible discord between the two parents over a child’s request to be euthanized


And they asked how could adults be sure that a child had the “discernment” necessary to decide to give up life or even really understands the notion


“Experience shows us that in cases of serious illness and imminent death, minors develop very quickly a great maturity, to the point where they are often better able to reflect and express themselves on life than healthy people,” a group of pediatricians in favor of the legislation said in December


Polls showed a majority of Belgians backing the proposal but there was a surge of concern last year when a 44-year-old in distress after a failed sex change was euthanized on psychological grounds in a highly publicized case


Belgium registered 1,432 cases of euthanasia in 2012, up 25 percent. They represented two percent of all deaths


Neighbouring Netherlands has seen only five euthanasia requests from youngsters in the last decade.


 


Arab News




  MENA News Headlines
 Nov 27 2014 - Lebanon mourns 'songbird' SabahArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) BEIRUT: Iconic Lebanese singer and actress Sabah died Wednesday at the age of 87 after a seven-decade career and a colorful love life that kept her in the headlines until the ...

 Nov 27 2014 - Egypt drops ban on 'adults only' filmArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) CAIRO: An Egyptian court has revoked a government ban on a film by Lebanese star Haifa Wehbe that had been deemed sexually provocative judicial sources said on Wednesday.In April ...

 Nov 27 2014 - Saudi- Prince vanishes from social mediaArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) NEW YORK: Prince whose distaste for the music industry's conventions is well known has abruptly disappeared from social media after tentative efforts to promote his two new ...

 Nov 27 2014 - Saudi- Cumberbatch quits smokingArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) LONDON: 'Sherlock' star Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed he left smoking one month back.The 38-year-old actor said staying away from cigarette is helping him stay healthy ...

 Nov 27 2014 - Saudi- Dilip Kumar perfectly fine: Big BArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) MUMBAI: Thespian Dilip Kumar is 'perfectly fine' says actor Amitabh Bachchan quashing rumors of the former's health scare.Social networking platforms were abuzz with rumors ...

 Nov 27 2014 - Saudi- Turki Khan: Changing society one step at a timeArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Dreams ambitions and determination have no limits dedication to those three traits can take that dreamer ambition-seeker and determined young man or woman to places he or she ...

 Nov 27 2014 - Saudi- Exploring fine art through pencilArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Eman Al-Qahtani is a successful talented and ambitious young Saudi artist. She combines thoughts and colors in her paintings. She has her own art method; a painting is to deliver ...

 Nov 27 2014 - Saudi- Qatar lifts 22nd Arabian Gulf CupArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Qatar rallied to get the better of Saudi Arabia 2-1 to win the 22nd Arabia Gulf Cup football tournament at the King Fahd International stadium in Riyadh Wednesday night.Playing ...

 Nov 27 2014 - Saudi- Al Kabeer climbs to No. 2 after honors sweep in Globe CupArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) One mighty performance that saw Al Kabeer Frozen Foods sweep honors had the defending champion moving up the leaderboard after the eighth week in the Thursday League 12th ...

 Nov 27 2014 - Al-Taib wins Fastest Car Race 2014 in RiyadhArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Ahmed Al-Taib a Saudi topped the Fastest Car Race 2014 which was organized at Dirab Park racetrack in Riyadh. Al-Taib won the race in a Porsche 911 Turbo which is characterized ...

more...


 






Google

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help