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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

11/4/2013 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Under proposed law, parents can put their kids to sleep as animals.

The slippery slope is a fallacy, but in Belgium, it is horrifyingly real. The Belgian government is now considering the expansion of their euthanasia law to permit the killing of children and dementia patients.

It's inconceivable that a parent could consider putting their child to death, but it already happens in Belgium, just secretly.

It's inconceivable that a parent could consider putting their child to death, but it already happens in Belgium, just secretly.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/4/2013 (8 months ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Belgium, euthanasia, suicide, law, legal, morality, physician, assisted


BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (Catholic Online) - Euthanasia is already legal for persons over 18 in Belgium, but for some people, this is not good enough. A proposed change in that nation's law would have parents taking their own children, and children their elderly parents, to hospitals where they can be put to sleep as animals.

Doctors say the change in the law would legitimize what is already happening surreptitiously in hospitals.

Advocates say that parents should be able to choose euthanasia for their children. Already, euthanasia for children over 12 is allowed in extraordinary circumstances. Occasionally, according to reports, physicians will also euthanize infants and are not prosecuted for it.

Interestingly, minors may also be given the secular, legal right to end their own lives, if they so choose, without their parents being involved. This prompted Archbishop Andre-Jospeh Leonard to speak out against the law. He commented that the law does not allow minors to choose to get married, but would allow them to decide end their own lives.

He also explained that there are many alternatives to euthanasia, even in cases of terminal suffering, such as palliative sedation-a situation where a person is put into an induced coma or given adequate painkillers to permit them to cope.

It is a compelling argument, and sufficient without even having to approach the moral implications of euthanizing children, children are children precisely because they lack the mental capacity to properly and logically weigh consequences, after all the human brain often doesn't reach maturity until around age 25.

Children do commit suicide, and while every reason for suicide is insufficient, the reasons chosen by children are particularly fleeting. For example, two weeks ago a girl in India committed suicide, citing in her note that her parents wouldn't allow her to log into her Facebook account because of her grades. Another child, 12, committed suicide after prolonged distress over the death of her father. Saying she wanted to be with him in heaven, she hanged herself. In Japan, youth suicide has been an epidemic for decades as academic performance and personal honor is heavily emphasized in that country.

These are examples of suicide that occur without the sanction of the state. What happens when children can check themselves into a hospital, cite extraordinary emotional suffering as a reason, and simply have their beating hearts stopped with an injection?

In the book, Brave New World, citizens are encouraged to live libertine lives free from suffering, which often means the ready use of state-sanctioned drugs. When they become old or chronically ill, they partake of a state-encouraged euthanasia program.

Such is the stuff of science fiction, but fiction has a terrible habit of becoming reality. A few decades ago, nobody could have imagined that their phones would have the power of personal computers, that we would be able to shop internationally with ease or carry our entire collection of music in our pocket. We would have chuckled at the possibility of self-driving cars and secret spy organizations that would record everything we did online and on the phone.

Yet today these are commonplace. Will euthanasia join these ubiquitous marvels as a hallmark of the early 21st century? Shall Belgium lead the way into the Brave New World? It certainly seems determined to do so.

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