Euthanasia of Infants by Doctors Responsible for Nearly Half of Newborn Deaths in Belgium

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM, April 11, 2005, (LifeSiteNews.com) - Belgian doctors are directly responsible for nearly half of the 253 deaths of newborn babies during a year long period, a new study reports. The controversial report, published in The Lancet, covers a period from August 1999 to July 2000 and shows that pediatricians who responded to the survey admitted they had taken "end of life" decisions in more than half the cases.

According to the report, infant euthanasia has become commonplace in the most liberal regions of northern Europe. In 2002, Belgium legalized euthanasia for adults who are suffering 'constant and unbearable physical or psychological pain', and who are sufficiently conscious to make the request to die. Holland passed a similar law in 1995. In neither country is it legal to put infants to death.

The most common means of infant euthanasia was the withholding of treatment because "physicians believed the baby had no real chance of survival or the baby had no chance of a 'bearable future'." Opiate pain killers were used in 40 cases to shorten life while in 17 cases, a lethal dose or lethal drugs were administered. The lethal doses of painkillers, which broke Belgian law, were mainly administered to babies less than a week old.

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