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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Euthanizing Children?

Much publicized is the debate in Belgium about legalizing the euthanasia of children. Doctors and caregivers are debating whether children under eighteen should have the right to request to be killed legally. (Of course, no one uses the word “killed.”)

They showed the case of a very small girl who had had an incurable illness and had passed away. Her mother said it was hard to watch her suffer the last few months. My heart went out to the mother. I can’t imagine.

Twin grown men both were euthanized because they were going blind. The doctor who authorized it said they would have very great emotional trauma being blind. They had no terminal illness.

The news highlighted an elderly couple. The wife has much pain and had gotten to the point that she didn’t want to keep living. She had asked to be euthanized, but then, she got some pain relief, and now she wants to live.

A spokesman from the Brothers of Charity, a Catholic organization, said that when patients get better care (especially better pain relief), they don’t want death anymore.

But the debate isn’t about the terminally ill or adults, it’s about children asking to end their lives.

I watched a severely disabled girl and her mother interacting. The mother seemed to be coaching the girl to say she didn’t want to live like that. That was disturbing to me. I wondered if the girl really understood what she was saying. If a parent were tired of caring for a disabled child, would it eventually be possible to ask a doctor to kill the child? Will euthanasia become a means to eliminate those who are dependent?

The important thing in this debate isn’t whether or not the person is terminally ill or able to express himself. It’s the sad issue about whether euthanasia is humane or not. (One of the doctors interviewed said euthanasia is the “ultimate humanity.” The rationale he gave was keeping people from suffering.)

euthanasia—the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy*

This is interesting. The dictionary definition says it is the act of killing.

Most of us know the Ten Commandments. The sixth is, Thou shalt not kill (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17).

The Ten Commandments are a moral code that applies universally, all the time, in all circumstances. Killing—the active ending of someone else’s life—is morally wrong.

Euthanasia is legal in Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg. It seems the definition of euthanasia has been stretched to include assisted suicide as well as doctors deciding whether or not a patient’s suffering should be ended. This means doctors both actively kill people and assist them to kill themselves.

Now, Belgium is debating whether children can be euthanized.

God has given us a moral standard, which forbids killing.

However people rationalize euthanasia, the definition remains the same. It’s the act of killing. I believe in life.

(You might be interested in another post I wrote some time ago, about biblical people who asked God to kill them. You may read it here.)

*Merriam Webster dictionary


  1. So sad. I can truly understand wanting to end suffering and wondering why God doesn't relieve or take home His children who are suffering with no apparent hope of relief in sight, but we shouldn't take the matter into our own hands. He has a purpose in what He allows, even painful things, and He is the author of life and the One who should determine when it ends, while our focus should be on caring for the afflicted one as long as they are here.

  2. No estoy de acuerdo con la Eutanasia, ni para los mayores ni para los niños, para nadie en general. Dios nos pone a todos en el mundo por una razón y no creo que nos ponga en el mundo para morir cuando nos parezca que no podemos aguantar mas. Es una pena que la gente que esta en esa tesitura no encuentre la salvación cuando empieza a pensar en esta posibilidad. Pues podría encontrar un significado muy diferente de la vida.


    1. Tienes razón. La vida es algo sagrada que Dios nos da. Solamente Dios tiene el derecho de quitarla. Gracias, Tere. Bendiciones.


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