Dutch “Mercy Killing” of Children

The Netherlands extends euthanasia rules for kids of any age without consent.


John Stonestreet

Timothy D Padgett

As of February 1, a new law in the Netherlands extends “mercy killing” to children of any age. Supporters claim the law will only apply to five or 10 extremely rare cases a year, “to children in the terminal phase, who suffer without hope . . . unbearabl[y] and for whom palliative care is inadequate.”  

The suffering of children does and should break our hearts, and the promise of relief, even if that means death, can seem like a compassionate choice. However, both the degree and definition of suffering have always proven to be too malleable and manipulatable to stay within the boundaries of laws and safeguards. Terminal illness gets redefined to include “hopeless” diagnoses. Physical suffering expands to mental suffering. The right to die becomes the duty to die. 

If history holds, these five to 10 cases a year will become more and more for little ones who need comfort, not death. 


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