The first death under the country's new law occurred last week
by Michael Cook
September 2016 is a landmark, of sorts. It marks the first time that a child has been euthanised under contemporary euthanasia laws. The death occurred last week in the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium, although it was announced on Saturday by Belgium's euthanasia supremo, Wim Distelmans. His words were sober and solemn, as befitted the occasion, but I suspect that he and his colleagues are quietly happy to see the boundaries of euthanasia spread even further.
Of course, the euthanasia of new-born infants is relatively common in that part of the world, but not of children who are old enough to be asked if they really want to be killed.
While the details of the death were not disclosed, even the age, Dr Distelmans described it as an exceptional case of a child with a terminal illness living in the Flemish-speaking section of Belgium. "Fortunately there are very few children who are considered (for euthanasia) but that does not mean we should refuse them the right to a dignified death," he told the Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.
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