Belgium to allow assisted suicide for children

Injection needle 
By: Debbi Gross 

Soon, little children will be able to decide for themselves if they want to continue living or die with the help of a doctor, according to legislation introduced in Belgium.

Belgium, is considering a significant change to its law on euthanasia, which would allow minors and Alzheimer's patients to ask permission to die.

The proposed changes to the law were presented to parliament by the Socialist Party and is likely to be approved by the other parties, although no date has yet been submitted for a parliamentary debate.

"The idea is to update the law to take greater account of the dramatic situations and extremely distressing cases we find no answer to," party leader Thierry Giet said.

The bill calls on "the current law to be extended to minors if they have the judgment or affected by an incurable disease." Belgium was the second country in the world after the Netherlands to legalize euthanasia in 2002, but it only applies to people over 18.

Socialist Senator Philippe Mahoux, who helped draft the proposed changes, said there had been cases of teenagers who "had the ability to decide their future.”

He said that parliament would also consider extended mercy killing for people suffering from diseases such Alzheimer's. Euthanasia was used for an Alzheimer's patient first in the Netherlands last year.