By Jonathon Van Maren
I sometimes find it hard to believe that child euthanasia has become a debatable topic. As I noted in First Things two years ago, child euthanasia has come to the Netherlands, with primary concerns around the practice being shielding doctors from prosecution rather than the protection of helpless infants. In Canada’s creeping killing regime, the Quebec College of Physicians is advocating not only for MAiD for “mature minors,” but also for infants below the age of one suffering from severe disability or judged to be otherwise unworthy of life by adults—a position that they doubled down on when they received backlash.
Now, child euthanasia has come up in Colombia, where a bill introduced by Liberal party congressman Juan Carlos Losada proposed, among other things, that children ages six and older who have “a serious and incurable illness or bodily injury that causes intense physical or mental suffering” can be killed—or, put more euphemistically, can be eligible for a “medically assisted death.” It is important when discussing these things that we emphasize what is actually meant here: a “medically assisted death,” in this context, is a doctor killing a child via lethal injection.
The bill doesn’t start at the top of the slippery slope—it begins at the bottom, emphasizing that “it’s not necessary, nor will it be required, to prove the existence of a terminal illness or a medical prognosis of imminent death.” This means that children who are not dying can be killed because adults decide that their lives are not worth living. If passed, it would mean that children who are not dying will be killed for a variety of reasons—and that those suffering disabilities that others deem unbearable will likely be among the victims.
As reported by the Catholic News Agency, the Pro-Life Caucus of Colombia’s Congress is stridently opposing the legislation, with debate on the bill beginning on November 29. The Pro-Life Caucus, which has more than sixty members, called it “a new attack against the Colombian family” and on Twitter expressed their “total disagreement with the aim of legalizing euthanasia for children in our country, even more so without the consent of their parents and in cases in which the disease is not in a terminal phase.” The proposed law, they pointed out, contains “provisions that ignore the State’s responsibility to provide, as a priority and in a timely manner, the care required by minors.”