MONTREAL, February 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
As Belgium prepares to become the first country in the world to enact a law permitting euthanasia of children on February 13,2014, Belgium will be in violation of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child. In the convention, children rights include:
1. A right to life.
2. The survival and development of the child.
3. Special protection
4. Adequate medical services
5. Special treatment and care for handicapped children.
6. Protection against all forms of neglect and cruelty.
Euthanasia of children goes against all these rights. The right of a child for adequate health care includes palliative care. On February 12, 2014 the International World Congress on Pediatric Palliative Care representing 250 palliative care specialists from over 35 countries declared: that all children have the right to the best quality of life. When they have life-limiting conditions they have the right to high quality palliative care. "Euthanasia is not part of children's palliative care and is not an alternative to palliative care." They urge the Belgian government to reconsider their recent decision to allow euthanasia of children. "….the answer to a child's suffering is more and better palliative care services and not the ending of a child's life."
In a video describing the dangers and abuses of childhood euthanasia, 16 year old Nadine from Quebec, Canada and survivor of an aggressive form of leukemia and bone marrow transplant, describes how she might have refused lifesaving chemotherapy when she was only 14 years old if pediatric euthanasia was permitted. She believes many young people like herself would opt for euthanasia if it is available. Her mother Claude testifies to the importance of family and love in supporting young people through the most vulnerable time of their lives. Nadine is grateful to be alive.
In another video, Jessica Saba, 4, of Lachine, Quebec, Canada who was born with a life threatening cardiac malformation and survived several cardiac interventions, speaks on behalf of millions of children worldwide with severe malformations. She asks the King of Belgium to refuse to sign the legislation for child euthanasia: "For the sake of the children, please do not sign the Euthanasia Bill," Jessica pleads in the video released on February 2.
Jessica's mother Marisa warns that a pediatric euthanasia law could encourage parents of sick or handicapped children "to give up too early." What parents and children need is to be surrounded with love and support for life and not euthanasia.
If pediatric euthanasia is legalized in Belgium, there is a danger the precedent could lead to the extension of pediatric euthanasia worldwide. Euthanasia started in Belgium for those suffering physically and now has been expanded to those who are suffering mentally. It began with adults and is now being extended to children.
Currently in Quebec, the government is attempting to pass its own euthanasia law, similar to the law passed in Belgium about 10 years ago. The Quebec Human Rights Commission is recommending extension of euthanasia to children.
The World Medical Association which represents 9 million physicians worldwide condemns euthanasia and advises physicians not to practice it where it is permitted.
Image with caption: "Four-year-old Jessica Saba from Canada pleads with the King of Belgium not to sign the euthanasia law for children (Photo credit: coalitionmd.org) (CNWGroup/Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140205_C7548_PHOTO_EN_36252.jpg
SOURCE Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice