This is such a hard topic.
If a terminally ill child is in severe and intolerable pain, suffering to extremes, do they have the right to die? To choose their own death?
Belgium says yes, yes they do.
In a new bill adopted by the lower house of Belgian Parliament, the euthanasia rights that adults have have been extended to minors — and passed pretty decidedly with 86 to 44 with 12 abstentions.
Of course, this means that these minors have to meet strict criteria, like that the child is able to understand what euthanasia means, and there's parental consent.
The only step left is to see the bill go to the king, Philippe, to be signed into law.
This bill, though widely supported, was super divisive.
Linda van Roy lost a baby, something no mother should ever have to go through. She also had to watch her little one suffer.
She is one of the biggest supporters of this bill, and said:
"We want for those children to be able to talk about euthanasia and to ask those questions and if they really want to say, 'Stop, this is it, I don't want it anymore,' that they can have a choice."
Right or wrong, we say that's up to the kids and the parents involved — otherwise it isn't anyone else's business.
The world's just lucky that in the scheme of things, this 'right to die' law would rarely come into effect and needed to be used. It's awful that it might need to be at all, but wouldn't that option be appropriate according to the situation?
For example: in the Netherlands, where children have been able to request euthanasia with parental consent since 2002, only five children have ever made that choice.
The biggest issue is whether or not kids even have the capacity to make a decision like this, regardless of a parent's approval. Nobody wants a child to make a decision based on the influence of the parents.
It's a tough situation, but we would hope with enough criteria to meet and enough hurdles to jump through that the option would only be available to those who would ever need it — and then, still just be an option with a freedom of choice.
[Image via AP Images.]
Tags: belgium, child, cute kid, disease, doctor, euthanasia, family, health, illness, kids, law, legal matters, parents, right to die, sad, sad sad