The Netherlands has backed plans to allow the euthanasia of terminally ill kids aged between one and 12.

Hugo de Jonge, the country’s health minister, said it would prevent some children from "suffering hopelessly and unbearably”.

The rule change means doctors will not be prosecuted for carrying out an approved euthanasia on youngsters within the age bracket.

But the controversial issue has sparked huge opposition from conservative Christian politicians.

Euthanasia is currently legal in the Netherlands for babies aged up to 12 months, as long as it has parental consent.

And it is also legal for children over the age of 12, with consent required from both the patient and their parents.

However there is currently no provision for terminally ill youngsters aged between one and 12-years-old.

The issue has caused months of debate within the coalition government, made up of four parties.

But the change has now received the green light, the BBC reported.

Parents will need to give their consent and the patient must be going through "unbearable and endless suffering”.

At least two doctors must also agree to the procedure being carried out.

Ministers will now draw up new regulations, with the change expected to be implemented in the next few months.

Mr de Jonge said current laws would not need to be changed. But medics will now be exempt from prosecution, he added.

The health minister claimed an expert study had concluded the rule needed to be changed.

He said it showed between five to 10 children would be affected each year.

In a letter to parliament, he said: "The study shows that there is a need for active termination of life among doctors and parents of incurably ill children, who are suffering hopelessly and unbearably and will die within the foreseeable future.”

Euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands since 2002, along with assisted suicide.

Belgium also approved it months later.

The two European nations were the first countries in the world to legalise it.

Source: Read Full Article