A significant cohort is currently ineligible for euthanasia in the Netherlands – children aged 1-12. The Dutch Minister of Health plans to correct this with departmental regulations – rather than changing the national euthanasia law.
Minister Ernst Kuipers informed Parliament that critically ill children who are suffering unbearably and terminally ill need relief from their suffering.
According From Volkskrant, a Dutch newspaper, the paediatricians call for a regulation rather than a law: “They fear that a modification of the law will polarize the debate, whereas they seek a practical solution to painful situations for a very restricted target group.
In the Netherlands, people over the age of 12 can request euthanasia. Children under 1 can be euthanized under the long-standing Groningen protocol. But some doctors have pushed to provide euthanasia for cohort 1-12 as well. De Volkskrant says Mr. Kuipers’ draft proposal specifies seven criteria, including desperate and unbearable suffering, inability to relieve the suffering, physician approval and parental consent.
In October, the Minister will brief Parliament on the details of his proposal and set a timetable for implementation.