In Belgium, where deaths by euthanasia have increased by almost 500 per cent since euthanasia was legalised in 2002, it's said that 47 per cent of assisted deaths are not even reported. Yesterday the Belgian parliament decided by 86 votes to 44 to extend euthanasia to children of all ages.
There must be a "hopeless medical situation of constant and unbearable suffering that cannot be eased and which will cause death in the short term." The child must understand the meaning of euthanasia, must be determined in its decision, and the decision must be approved by the child's parents and doctors.
(When capital punishment was outlawed in Britain, it was promised that life would mean life. Except that it didn't happen. When abortion was legalised in 1967, abortion was for a few women in extreme circumstances. Except that we now have abortion on demand.)
Too young to drink, too young to drive, too young to marry, but old enough to decide to die?
Writes Cranmer: "Can six-year-old children really grasp the enormity of ending their lives? Is not a journey to the undiscovered country just an awfully big adventure, where one may soar through the sky with Peter Pan, frolick in the snow with Father Christmas or live happily ever after with My Little Pony?. . .
"One cannot pursue both equality and liberty, and our post-Christian relativist culture offers no agreed way of interpreting moral argument or mediating between rival premises. And so the shrill rights of the child must necessarily include the right to die because they have the right to live."