Belgium legalises euthansia for children
Belgium has become the first country in the world to allow euthanasia for children regardless of their age. The Belgian parliament approved a law to this effect on Thursday. Some commentators praise Belgian society for conducting a respectful debate prior to the decision. Others see the move as a break with taboo that will have repercussions far beyond Belgium's borders.
De Standaard - Belgium: An astonishingly respectful debate
Belgian society has demonstrated a commendable degree of mutual respect in its discussion of assisted suicide for minors, the liberal daily De Standaard writes: "The debate has shown that respect is decisive. It's a good thing to allow people the possibility to decide on their own fate, within socially accepted limits. But at the same time it can't be denied that this larger scope for individual decision making also influences society. Both the ailing individual and society have a right to express themselves. They both deserve to be protected by the law. A fitting balance can only be found through mutual respect. That remains an ongoing task. It is remarkable that a country that is so polarised in so many areas has been able to discuss this topic with so much vigour, but also with such a high degree of seriousness. That indicates a good deal of maturity." (14/02/2014)
Rzeczpospolita - Poland: An attack on civilisation
Civilisation itself is in danger after the Belgian decision, in the eyes of the conservative daily Rzeczpospolita: "The head of the Dutch Physicians' Association Karl Gunnig once said very aptly: 'We always knew that the list of resulting problems would be very long once we admitted death as a solution.' With the Belgians' decision we are seeing this confirmed once more. ... Imagine a child whose illness is a great burden for the parents. Now they will try to persuade their child to ask for euthanasia. This oversteps yet another line, breaks another taboo and constitutes a step that ultimately lead to the destruction of our entire civilisation." (14/02/2014)
Pravda - Slovakia: Euthanasia for children a step too far
No one has the right to decide over the life or death of a child, the left-leaning daily Pravda writes: "In today's world many things seem admissible. Nonetheless there's a natural border that one doesn't like to overstep. And so it is that many people with a liberal stance on the issue of euthanasia for adults find it hard to imagine that it should apply to children. Minors are not responsible for their acts. They are not allowed to decide on questions that are far less important than the matter of life or death. Today's medicine is in a position to detect potential illnesses in a foetus. Yet still the parents decide to have the child. And to everyone's surprise, some of these children are born completely healthy. What doctor would have the courage to claim that a child is incurably ill? ... No one has the right to play God." (14/02/2014)
La Repubblica - Italy: Ideological trench wars out of place
Instead of fighting out an ideological battle over the Belgian law, we should stop and give the issue of life and death some serious thought, the left-liberal daily La Repubblica admonishes: "Faced with such a terrible issue as euthanasia for children - and its dreadful subchapter, euthanasia for newborn babies - we must pause for thought. ... Adopting such a position can be interpreted as opportunistic or even cowardly. But it doesn't mean shirking one's responsibility because it's too great, which would also be a legitimate response. On the contrary, this position forces us to confront the problems of life and death and stop hiding behind absolutist principles or improvised commentaries on the decisions of others. It makes us confront the issue and ask ourselves questions." (14/02/2014)
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Translated from Euthanasie en Belgique : la vie tranchée ?