According to a recently released report, three children in Belgium under the age of 18 were given lethal injections after they chose to die.
Belgium is the only country in the world that has a law allowing physicians to end the life of a child at any age who makes such a request. It has been a law since 2014.
In a report released last month by the CFCEE, the commission that regulates euthanasia in Belgium, the three children's deaths occurred between January and December of 2017. One was a nine-year-old who had a brain tumor, an 11-year-old who had cystic fibrosis, and a 17-year-old who had muscular dystrophy. The nine-year-old and the 11-year-old were the first children under 12 to be given legal lethal injections, a member of the CFCEE told The Washington Post.
The Telegraph reports under Belgian law a child must be judged mentally competent and have parental consent when requesting assisted suicide.
Supporters of the law say a child should not be made to suffer. Opponents respond saying children are too young to make a decision about dying.
Prof Stefaan Van Gool, a child cancer specialist in Belgium told the newspaper: "There is, in fact, no objective tool today available that really can help you say 'this child has the full competence or capacity to give with full understanding informed consent.'"
However, it's not only children who are being euthanized. According to The Telegraph, the annual number of euthanasia cases across all age groups has multiplied almost five-fold in 10 years in Belgium. From 2016 to 2017, that number was 4,337 who requested assistance with their suicides. Most were cancer patients.
Canada runs a close second in the world for legal assisted suicides. Physicians and nurse practitioners have killed almost 4,000 patients since euthanasia was legalized in Quebec in December 2015 and ultimately throughout the country, according to the website Evolution News and Science Today. The website also noted the number of doctor-facilitated deaths has increased steadily since legalization.
The report also added how enthusiastically Canada has embraced the culture of death — to the point that little dissent is allowed. Ontario recently passed a law requiring all doctors to kill a legally qualified patient even though the judge acknowledged it violated the religious and conscience rights of doctors who did not want to perform legally assisted suicides.