Expert: Child euthanasia center imminent in the Netherlands

Within the next year a center for euthanasia in children will open in the Netherlands, professor of pediatrics Eduard Verhagen predicted to Dutch newspaper AD, who calls him the authority in the field of child euthanasia.

Under current Dutch legislation, euthanasia can be applied for infants up to a year old and kids over the age of 12, if they suffer unbearably. Kids between the ages of 1 and 12 years are considered incapable of making such an important decision for themselves and are not eligible for euthanasia.

But according to Verhagen, doctors are already investigating the practice of life-end decisions for kids between the ages of 1 and 12 years. "We think that some children under the age of 12 are well able to make such important decisions", he said.

He adds that the Netherlands is keeping a close eye on Belgium for developments. "The Belgians have in their system given younger children a major say in the evaluations of child psychologist or child psychiatrist. We are thus wondering what methodology is used to determine the mental competence."