Hold on. Before you become outraged at my asking I only ask as Belgium is currently going through this quandary. I thought I would get some others opinions as they cant decide either. They are currently divided. They legalized euthanasia for adults in 2002 and now they are looking at extending the law to include children who are terminally ill and suffering unbearable pain.
There is so much heartache in the world. Just look at the news and you can be swamped by heartache…. such as the family of the teenager who was killed by a coward punch or the little boy that was hit by a car last week and killed while on day 3 of his beach holiday or the dad that died after saving his 2 boys from trouble in the ocean here on holidays from the UK…..and it just goes on and on.
These are tragedies but what about if you had to stare heartbreak and misfortune in the face and still get up every morning with a positive outlook for the sake of your child who is facing a life threatening incurable battle. This is not belittling the aforementioned tragedies a there is no tragedy scale it is purely a question I asked myself to try to put myself in their shoes. Could I wake up every morning and battle on with a positive outlook for the sake of my child? I would hope I could. I would hope I could muster the strength and energy founded on pure love for them and their last days. But I do question my ability…. I don’t know if I could have the strength to cope. I know that most people think they wouldn’t either until faced with the harsh reality and thankfully I haven’t had to test my resolve and pray that I don’t and that those that do have all the love and support they need. I can honestly say I am in awe of those families.
But this isn’t about me and my personal feelings as such. After reading of Belgium’s dilemma it did lead me to further question myself that if I was faced with the prospect of my child dying a long and possibly painful death would I wish that there was a law that allowed child euthanasia? Would you?
A child who is incurable, in pain and is an unimaginable nightmare to even think about but many do not have the luxury of not thinking about it as they have to deal with it. In my family my brother has an incurable degenerative condition and he is in the latter stages of the condition. It is horrible and I can’t imagine the pain my parents are going through. He is an adult. And I don’t know if my parents have discussed what will happen towards the end. You never want (or think) when you bring your little bundle of joy into the world that they may possible die before you (at any age).
I can see both sides. But I had trouble deciding which side I sat on. I, of course, as most parents, don’t wish any harm ever on your child let alone some horrid painful incurable disease/condition/illness, however, I am also torn at the thought that essentially I would be responsible for ‘the end’ and my child drawing their last breath. Isn’t that what happens when you have to turn life support off? So is there a difference? Isn’t it better for their last breath to be one that can relieve them from the pain and suffering rather than them to continue their suffering? I would go back and forth with more questions like these. It is such an emotive issue but then also there were 17 Belgium pediatricians who signed an open letter partioning senators for votes for the child euthanasia bill so maybe it is a more humane way….17 child pediatricians can’t be wrong…right?! In the Netherlands child euthanasia is legal for those over 12 years with parents’ consent.
If Belgium passes this law then they will be pioneers in this area and be the first country to have open aged child euthanasia.
The death of any child is a tragedy regardless of the circumstances but should the right to die include children?
What are your feelings on this sensitive and controversial debate?