Health Minister Ernst Kuipers announced in a press release on Friday that he expects the regulation to be implemented within the year. The new guidelines will probably only apply to about five to ten children annually for whom “life termination is the only viable option to end the child’s hopeless and unbearable suffering,” said Kuipers.
This means that the Netherlands government plans to extend the Groningen Protocol, which applies to newborns, to children between the ages of 1 and 12, rather than amending the euthanasia legislation to include children under the age of 12.
Extending the Groningen Protocol is very concerning because it permits euthanasia of newborns who are experiencing current or possible future suffering. If you use the same definitions for children under 12, there will be euthanasia deaths of children who may have treatable conditions.
In October 2020, Netherlands Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced that the government was planning to permit child euthanasia. According to the DutchNews.nl:
De Jonge added that current laws would not need to be amended. Rather, doctors would be exempted from prosecution for carrying out an approved euthanasia on a child.
The NL Times reported today that:
Following life termination, a review committee and the Public Prosecution Service will examine whether the procedure was carried out with due care.
This means that the decision will only be reviewed after the child has died.
There was a record number of Netherlands euthanasia deaths in 2022 with 8720 reported deaths representing a 14% increase from 2021 and 5.1% of all deaths in the Netherlands. 288 of the 8720 were based on the person having dementia.
The World Medical Association declared in 1987 a statement that was referred in 2005 stating:
“Euthanasia, that is the act of deliberately ending the life of a patient, even at the patient’s own request or at the request of close relatives, is unethical. This does not prevent the physician from respecting the desire of a patient to allow the natural process of death to follow its course in the terminal phase of sickness.