BioEdge

  


Michael Cook | Friday, 27 April 2012

Let’s give intellectually disabled the right to euthanasia, say Belgian humanists

People with intellectual disabilities, all children and people with dementia should be able to request euthanasia, the Belgian Liberal Humanist Association (HVV) has declared. Its president, Jacinta De Roeck, a former senator who helped to draft the current law, says: “We can not accept that a certain group of people should be completely excluded from self-determination over life and death.”

This is an especially touchy topic in Belgium because of  the euthanasia of mentally handicapped people in neighbouring Germany under the Nazis. However, Ms De Roeck insists that the issue has to be considered. “Even someone with mental retardation, who is found to be mature enough by the team should be able to ask for euthanasia.”

The HVV is also lobbying for children of any age to have the right to ask for euthanasia.  The HVV website states that “children who are in a hopeless situation have a high degree of maturity, especially compared to other healthy children. Setting an age is therefore completely arbitrary.”

She has predicted  that eventually minors and people with dementia will have the right in Belgium, although not in the term of the present government. ~ Humanieuws, Apr 23; Nieuwsblad.be, Apr 21