The stakes couldn’t be any higher or more grave than they are in this report:
A terminally ill minor has become the first child to be euthanized in Belgium since age restrictions were lifted in the country two years ago, according to several sources.
A Belgian lawmaker told CNN affiliate VTM that the physician-assisted suicide happened within the past week.
The child, who was suffering from an incurable disease, had asked for euthanasia, Sen. Jean-Jacques De Gucht told VTM. The identity of the child and age are unknown.
“I think it’s very important that we, as a society, have given the opportunity to those people to decide for themselves in what manner they cope with that situation,” said Gucht, a supporter of euthanasia legislation.
According to the BBC, the child was 17-years old. Lest you think this is far removed from us, just remember that physician-assisted suicide is already legal in the states of Washington, Oregon, California, and Vermont. We are not so far behind.
What does this precedent mean? Like in the United States, a child cannot decide by himself that he wants to die. According to the report, the child must understand what euthanasia is and the parents must also give consent to let it happen.
But what does it mean for a child to know what euthanasia is? Does he really understand death and mortality? Do his parents who must give consent even understand? Do they understand that every life is sacred because it is created in the image of God? Do they understand that “consent” does not nullify the dignity that God has given to that precious life? Do they understand that if we only value lives that meet a minimum threshold of “quality,” then none of us are safe? As a society, do Belgians (and we) understand that just because consent is required today does not mean that it will be required tomorrow?
If life is only reckoned as valuable based on utility or quality of life, then when society deems such lives unworthy of living consent may no longer be required. Utilitarianism can be a conscience-crushing, life-destroying moral argument. And we must oppose it wherever it raises itself up against the image of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). This is a slippery slope that we must not go down, but it appears we are already on the move.
Lord have mercy.