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LIFE DIGEST: Euthanasia expands to Dutch children

WASHINGTON (BP)–The latest market for some euthanasia promoters is children.

The Dutch government recently approved the euthanasia of children under the age of 12 in one hospital, and two legislators in Belgium are seeking to bring the same lethal result to minors in their country.

In the Netherlands, doctors at the Groningen University Hospital will be able to euthanize children under the age of 12. Physicians will be able to take the lives of their young patients if they “believe their suffering is intolerable or if they have an incurable illness,” lawyer and ethicist Wesley Smith wrote in a Sept. 13 article in The Daily Standard.

“But what does that mean?” Smith said. “In many cases, as occurs now with adults, it will become an excuse not to provide proper pain control for children who are dying of potentially agonizing maladies such as cancer, and doing away with them instead. As for those deemed ‘incurable’ — this term is merely a euphemism for killing babies and children who are seriously disabled.”

The euthanizing of the young is not new in the Netherlands. A 1997 study published in the Lancet, a British medical journal, found 45 percent of neo-natologists and 31 percent of pediatricians had secretly euthanized infants, Smith wrote. About 21 percent of infant deaths by euthanasia took place without the request or the consent of the parents, Smith said.

Meanwhile, Belgian senators Jeannine Leduc and Paul Wille have introduced legislation expanding euthanasia to terminally ill teenagers and children, Reuters news service reported Sept. 8. Minors have as much right to choose when they want to die as others do, the bill says, according to Reuters.

A Belgian law removing criminal penalties for euthanasia took effect in 2002, Reuters reported.

Euthanizing children means there “can be little doubt anymore that the ‘slippery slope’ of euthanasia has turned into an avalanche,” Charles Colson wrote in his Oct. 5 BreakPoint commentary. “It can be only a matter of time before lawmakers and doctors determine that none of us needs to have any say in whether we or our loved ones live or die.”

ABORTIONISTS FUND KERRY — Three of the country’s best-known abortion doctors have contributed to the presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry.

Martin Haskell, Warren Hern and George Tiller have given a total of $7,000 to the Democratic nominee’s effort to gain the White House, according to an Oct. 11 article by Douglas Johnson in The Weekly Standard. Johnson is legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee.

Haskell, who is from Ohio, has given $2,000, Hern of Colorado $4,000 and Tiller of Kansas $1,000, Johnson reported.

All three men are known for performing late-term abortions.

Haskell’s 1992 paper on a gruesome, late-term method he called “dilation and extraction” led to the introduction and eventual passage of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act in Congress. The procedure involves the feet-first delivery of a child, normally in the fifth or six month of pregnancy until only the head is left in the birth canal. The doctor punctures the base of the skull with scissors before suctioning out the brain.

Hern and Tiller have performed abortions 36 weeks into pregnancy in some cases, Johnson wrote. Tiller has a reputation as the leader in late-term abortions.

Why, Johnson asked, would Haskell, Hern and Tiller contribute to a candidate who has said this year he opposes partial birth abortion and believes life begins at conception?

“My bet is that the abortionists know that during his 20 years in the Senate, Kerry has been an absolutely consistent defender of abortion,” Johnson wrote. “So why should they be bothered by statements intended only to mislead voters who are strongly opposed to the grisly business that these men are in — voters who are still unfamiliar with Kerry’s actual record?”

BUSH PUSHES CLONING BAN — President Bush has urged the United Nations to adopt a resolution in support of a comprehensive ban on human cloning.

In a Sept. 21 speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Bush threw his support behind such a resolution sponsored by Costa Rica. He called for all countries to endorse a “basic ethical principle: No human life should ever be produced or destroyed for the benefit of another.”

Two days later, Costa Rican President Abel Pacheco called for passage of his country’s resolution in a speech to the General Assembly.

There is a “duty to protect those who do not have yet a voice,” Pacheco said. “In particular, there is a pressing need to agree on a normative framework, internationally binding, to uphold human dignity from the moment of conception.

“I believe in science within ethical limits,” he said. “As a medical doctor, I reject human cloning while I firmly support research on adult stem cells, which does not present the same ethical and legal problems that cloning does. I invite you all to join us in our efforts to adopt an international convention to ban all forms of human cloning.”

Many American and international officials want to permit cloning for the purpose of conducting research on embryos. The procuring of stem cells from an embryo destroys the young human life.

DESIGNER BABY OK IN UK — A British government agency has approved for the first time the production of a baby in order to treat a sick sibling.

The landmark decision offers a “horrifying prospect,” a pro-life leader said.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority approved the request of Joe and Julie Fletcher to undergo in vitro fertilization treatments in an attempt to find a genetic match for their 2-year-old son Joshua, who has a life-threatening blood disorder, The Scotsman reported Sept. 7. The IVF procedure will produce as many as 12 embryos, but only one that is found to be a match through genetic screening will be implanted into Julie Fletcher’s womb.

Though Jack Scarisbrick expressed sympathy for the parents, the national chairman of the British pro-life organization LIFE said “the best of ends, namely to cure a sick child, does not justify the means.”

“This procedure will become more and more routine and, just as the killing of unborn children hardly raises an eyebrow, so the deliberate creation and destruction of tiny human beings to provide ‘spare parts’ for others seems to be barely cause for concern,” Scarisbrick told LifeNews.com. “Soon the deliberate creation of people for the sake of others will become everyday. Children are ends in themselves and should be accepted unconditionally.”

COSTLY BOYS IN CHINA — A Chinese court has fined a couple $94,250 for having more than one child.

A court in the southern city of Shenzhen levied the hefty fine on the husband and wife, who gave birth to a son in 1997 and twin boys in 2003, Reuters News Service reported in a Sept. 20 article. Reuters based its report on an article in the Beijing Morning Post. The court also sealed off the couple’s house.

China, the world’s most populous country, has a population control policy that generally permits only one child per couple, at least in cities. Coercive government policies that include abortion and sterilization have been reported for the last 25 years. As a result of the one-child policy, some couples also have practiced female infanticide in an attempt to produce a male child.

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