Holland, euthanasia under 12: government prepares the law

It will only be possible for terminally ill people whose unbearable suffering cannot be relieved by palliative care

The Dutch government has decided to extend euthanasia too to children under 12 with terminal illnesses, in line with the proposal presented by the Minister of Health, Ernst Kuipers. The Dutch media report it, explaining that the provision should be approved within the year. In 2002 Holland was the first country to legalize euthanasia on the basis of specific protocols. At the moment there are guidelines for children under one year and over 12. Kuipers explained that he wants to extend and revise the protocol for children under one to cover the range up to 12. Euthanasia, he underlined, will be possible only for terminally ill people whose suffering is unbearable cannot be relieved by palliative care.

“We are talking about children who are so sick that death is inevitable, who are expected to die soon”, said the minister, stressing that euthanasia will only be possible if it is the only option to end the suffering of minors. It is expected, he said, that 5 to 10 children fall within these parameters each year.