Children aged just nine and 11 are the youngest people to have died from euthanasia, it has been disclosed. The terminally ill cancer patients received the lethal injection in Belgium, which has radical laws on euthanasia. It is the only country in the world where children of any age are given the right to die.
The law only applies to those with a terminal illness who are subjected to extreme suffering and they must have the mental capacity to make the decision, as well as consent from their parents. New data on euthanasia in Belgium has revealed that three children were given the lethal injection over a two-year period in 2016 and 2017, the Washington Post reported. The three children, the first three to die from euthanasia since the law was passed in 2014, were aged nine, 11 and 17, Luc Proot of the Belgian commission said.
During the passage of the bill, its supporters pointed out that it would only be used in the most extreme cases as very few children would ask to die. In the six years before it became the law in 2014, only one person aged under 20 had requested euthanasia. However, opponents argued that it went too far.
Belgium is the only place where children of all ages have a right to euthanasia, but in neighbouring Holland, children aged 12 and over can choose to have the lethal injection. In 2016 and 2017, more than 4,000 adults, all thought to be terminal cancer patients, opted to end their lives in Belgium.