KOSHER DELIGHT - YOUR JEWISH ONLINE MAGAZINE!
Wednesday, November 9, 2005 - ז' בחשון,
title of a recent news
article shocked me. It said, "Dutch Docs Helping Sick
Kids Die." We are well aware of the debate over
legalizing euthanasia for adults, but the topic of this
article was alarming: Dutch doctors helping children die.
I looked at the study more closely and saw that it covered 64
deaths of ill children within a four-month period. Of those,
42 involved medical decisions to hasten death. Just as with
many other matters, the issue of euthanasia seems to have
turned into "One small step for man and a giant leap for
is so far away from us, we can read the article, pretend there
is no world community and that this news article doesn't
affect us. The question of euthanasia is not so far away from
us though. It is coming up in the USA this fall - in Oregon -
so perhaps we should look at this story with greater interest.
began as means for doctors to help terminally ill,
elderly, consenting adults escape the pain and misery of a
long, drawn out death.
There has been raging controversy over the matter, and the
Dutch were the first to legalize euthanasia in 2002. I just
wonder how assisting consenting adults to terminate their
lives turned into this monster of doctors ending children's
was anxious to verify the ‘age of consent' in the
Netherlands. Maybe children are treated like adults in Holland
justifying such actions. Through research I discovered that
the legal age to drive in Holland is 18. Children can't
legally sit in the front seat of a moving vehicle if they are
below the age of 12. The legal drinking age in Holland is 16;
the legal voting age is 18.
the Dutch government considers children mature
enough to make life altering decisions from birth this move
would be slightly easier to understand, but the Dutch
government feels they must monitor each challenge in a child's
life and legalize it as the child matures. How then do they
explain that children are not mature enough to experience many
things adults can, yet they are subjected to an immoral and
heinous act that was legalized for adults?
the Dutch authorities feel that the question of euthanasia is
not a child's decision, but falls under the guidelines of
‘parental consent'. However,
if something as serious as a child's life is considered a
parental decision why aren't Dutch parents allowed to decide
the proper age their children can drink or drive or vote? It
seems ironic that parents can't decide these issues for their
children, but they have the power to terminate their child's
justifying the death of any group of people, has lead to the
justification of death for another group.
Holland, euthanasia seems to be taking the historic
route. I found no direct connection between Holland's
euthanasia of consenting adults and a parent's choice to end
their child's life. Allowing the former seems to have lead to
accepting the latter. These things seem to ‘just happen' and
if no one questions them, they become the accepted norm.
is wrong and legalizing it would be a grave
mistake. I trust the USA Supreme Court will understand the
ramifications of passing such a law and think long and hard
before doing so. Additionally, the dangerous path this law can
lead us down in the future is starkly apparent in Holland. The
doctor-assisted childhood deaths there should be warning
more articles by Rabbi Hecht
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