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Belgium legalises euthansia  for children

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Society

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) 

Eu­ro­topics - 30 coun­tries - 300 media out­lets - 1 press re­view

Translated from Euthanasie en Belgique : la vie tranchée ?

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