Child euthanasia: should we just not talk about it?

Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (8):630-634 (2015)

Luc Bovens
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Belgium has recently extended its euthanasia legislation to minors, making it the first legislation in the world that does not specify any age limit. I consider two strands in the opposition to this legislation. First, I identify five arguments in the public debate to the effect that euthanasia for minors is somehow worse than euthanasia for adults—viz. arguments from weightiness, capability of discernment, pressure, sensitivity and sufficient palliative care—and show that these arguments are wanting. Second, there is another position in the public debate that wishes to keep the current age restriction on the books and have ethics boards exercise discretion in euthanasia decisions for minors. I interpret this position on the background of Velleman’s “Against the Right to Die” and show that, although costs remain substantial, it actually can provide some qualified support against extending euthanasia legislation to minors
Keywords Euthanasia  Children
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DOI 10.1136/medethics-2014-102329
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Against Euthanasia for Children: A Response to Bovens.Christopher Kaczor - 2016 - Journal of Medical Ethics 42 (1):57-58.
The Sensitivity Argument Against Child Euthanasia.Geoff Keeling - 2018 - Journal of Medical Ethics 44 (2):143-144.
Is Medically Assisted Death a Special Obligation?Rivera-López Eduardo - 2017 - Journal of Medical Ethics 43 (6):401-406.

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