Should Doctors Help Children Die–Without Parents’ Knowledge?

October 16

When you think of someone taking their life through assisted suicide, perhaps you think of an elderly person, or at least of a young adult with a terminal diagnosis.

But that’s not where assisted suicide is headed. All you have to do is look to Europe – or even Canada.

In Europe, advocates for assisted suicide have been fanatical in their efforts to make suicide “accessible” to all. This so-called “compassionate choice” is no longer presented as merely an option for the elderly with a terminal diagnosis.

In Switzerland, for example, assisted suicide is available for people who are perfectly healthy senior citizens, but are simply tired of living. The Netherlands grants assisted-suicide requests to people who are experiencing “unbearable and hopeless psychological suffering,” like schizophrenia and depression.

But now, Belgium has finally dared to go where this has been heading all along: assisted suicide for children.

A Belgium law allows “terminally ill children of unbearable suffering to choose to die.” Recently, the world discovered an 11-year-old and a 9-year-old were the youngest-ever victims of assisted suicide.

It’s tragic enough that these two young children no longer believed that their own lives were worth fighting for. It’s worse yet that the medical professionals charged with their care stopped fighting for them.

And, closer to home, a Canadian hospital just published proposed policies for handling physician-assisted suicide for children. Under the proposed policy, children would be allowed to choose assisted suicide on their own, without the parents even knowing. That is a mind-blowing violation of basic parental rights!

But, more fundamentally, how does a child even choose to die?

A 9-year-old can’t sign a contract for at least nine more years. A 9-year-old can’t vote. Many wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) leave a 9-year-old home alone.  How in the world is a 9-year-old capable of requesting and “consenting” to their own death?  And what genuinely compassionate physician would say yes?

It is one of humanity’s strongest instincts to protect the lives of our children. It is most certainly a parent’s.  We can and must take responsibility for protecting those lives, and one way to do that is by voting! We must vote for policy makers who value life and who will support policies that better uphold life, like palliative care for the chronically ill. We must elect officials who will strictly prohibit the ability of a physician to “assist” in taking the life of a child, or any other person for that matter.

Voting pro-life is more than just a mantra. By voting for pro-life candidates on November 6 (or earlier), you are taking an important step to save lives.

Every life—especially those of young children—is worth fighting for.