Two minors have been euthanized in Belgium since the law was extended in 2014 to terminally ill minors. “The situation in Belgium is comparable to that in the Netherlands,” said Wim Distelmans, chairman of the euthanasia commission.
The parliament approved in February 2014 an extension of the euthanasia law from 2002 to terminally ill minors who suffer great pain with no available treatment. They must also be conscious of their decision. They can now apply for euthanasia with the consent of their parents or guardian.
On 17 September 2016, the newspaper Het Nieuwsblad reported that a first minor had used this possibility. Since then, a young Walloon has also asked to be euthanized, confirmed Professor Distelmans on Thursday (14 September).
“The situation is similar to the situation in the Netherlands, where five cases have been recorded in ten years. We have only had two cases in three years,” he said.
“We knew that there wouldn’t be many,” says Professor Distelmans. “Some 100,000 adults die every year in Belgium for every 1,000 minors. When it is known that 2,000 deaths in adults are the result of euthanasia, there couldn’t be many among minors. Children can only apply when they are terminally ill, while euthanasia is possible for adults even if they aren’t terminally ill patients.”
The Brussels Times