Dutch to al­low doc­tor­aided death for chil­dren

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - National -

The Dutch gov­ern­ment an­nounced plans this week to al­low doc­tors to end the lives of ter­mi­nally ill chil­dren who are un­der 13 years old, a de­ci­sion that is bound to in­flame the de­bate over physi­cian- as­sisted death.

The Nether­lands al­ready al­lows doc­tors to fa­cil­i­tate the deaths of peo­ple who are over 12 or less than a year old as long as par­ents have given their con­sent.

In a let­ter to par­lia­ment on Tues­day, the Dutch health min­is­ter, Hugo de Jonge, pro­posed ex­pand­ing the law to in­clude chil­dren be­tween the ages of 1 and 12 who are dy­ing and suf­fer­ing.

“In a small num­ber of cases, pal­lia­tive care isn’t suf­fi­cient,” Mr. de Jonge wrote. “Be­cause of that, some chil­dren suf­fer un­nec­es­sar­ily with­out any hope of im­prove­ment.”

He es­ti­mated that the mea­sure would af­fect about five to 10 chil­dren ev­ery year.

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