April
27
 

US bioethicists take Belgian child euthanasia to task

Three American bioethicists have criticised Belgium’s new law permitting children with a terminal illness to choose euthanasia. Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Art Caplan and two colleagues argue that children do not have adults’ capacity for informed consent. “Children and adolescents lack the experiential knowledge and sense of self that adults often invoke—rightly or wrongly—at the end of their lives,” they argue. Furthermore, a developed nation like Belgium ought to have good enough palliative care so that no child will experience “constant and unbearable suffering”.

The Belgian law specifies that euthanasia would be permissible only for “terminally ill children who are close to death, experiencing constant and unbearable suffering.” That suffering of such magnitude exists in modern pediatrics is an inexcusable tragedy. But the solution need not and should not be euthanasia.
All patients, including children, must have access to adequate palliative care. Although access to adequate comprehensive palliative care is limited in many settings, it ought not be in developed nations such as Belgium…
The goal of reducing suffering in children at the end of life is a laudable one. However, the ethical way to achieve this goal should be expanded education and clinical guidance around the provision of aggressive palliative care.


This article is published by Michael Cook and BioEdge.org under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

comments powered by Disqus
 

 Search BioEdge

 Subscribe to BioEdge newsletter
rss Subscribe to BioEdge RSS feed


 Recent Posts
‘Uterine morality’: feminist eugenics in China
8 May 2021
South Caroline may replace lethal injections with firing squads for capital punishment
8 May 2021
New Zealand super heavyweight weightlifter could become first openly transgender Olympic athlete
8 May 2021
US birth rate is the lowest since records began
8 May 2021
Seattle biotech bypasses regulators to test controversial dementia treatment
8 May 2021

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | rss RSS | Archive | Bookmark and Share | michael@bioedge.org

BioEdge - New Media Foundation Ltd © 2004 - 2019