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Hospital: Dutch Doctors Already Euthanize Children
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 1, 2004

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS--Dutch doctors have killed at least 18 newborns over the past five years, despite laws banning active euthanasia or "mercy killing" of infants, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The Groningen Academic Hospital, which recently proposed guidelines for legally killing babies with terminal illnesses, or severe physical or mental disabilities, revealed that it acted to end the lives of four such children in 2003. Doctors injected the children with lethal doses of sedatives.

"Passive euthanasia" occurs when doctors refuse to provide treatments or measures -- such as ventilators -- that would keep a person from dying. "Active euthanasia" means that doctors must do something -- such as giving lethal injections -- to bring about the death.

Three years ago, the Dutch parliament made it legal for doctors to euthanize adults experiencing severe pain who ask to die. A doctors' association wants the Health Ministry to study active euthanasia of people "with no free will", including children, people with mental retardation and patients in comas.

While the governments of the Netherlands, Belgium and the U.S. state of Oregon all allow physician-assisted suicide under specific conditions, acting to kill children is not legal anywhere in the world. Officials agree, however, that active or passive euthanasia of children with chronic illnesses and disabilities occurs on a regular basis behind closed doors.

France's Justice Ministry claims that two cases of child euthanasia were reported in 2002, seven in 2001 and five in 2000. Many occurred at Groningen. No charges have been filed against the doctors or the hospital.

Most disability groups strongly oppose efforts to legalize euthanasia. Such measures are reminders of the Nazi regime, which between 1939 and 1945 murdered an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 Europeans with physical and mental disabilities under legal and illegal "euthanasia" programs.

The Mentally and Physically Handicapped: Victims of the Nazi Era (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)


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