A prominent member of the Council of Europe criticized yesterday’s decision in Belgium that extended the country’s euthanasia law to children under the age of 18.
In an interview with Avvenire, Luca Volonte, Italian member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, has been one of many opponents of the new law, calling it a step in the wrong direction.
“We are at a point of no return, the law in favor of euthanasia for children is a step backwards to the beginning of the 20th century, when the culture of statewide eugenics provoked the appalling tragedies that we all know,” Volonte said.
The Italian politician, who participated in prayer vigils against the law, has now thrown his support behind a petition carried out by “CitizenGo” that will be presented to King Philippe of Belgium, urging him to not sign the controversial measure.
Volonte said the law invents an alleged “consensus” by children from 4-5 years old, while suggesting that such a consensus was only made by pressure from a commission of experts examining the request for euthanasia.
“Everyone knows that before 10 years old, children haven’t even grasped the concept of death, many pediatricians and child psychologists have said so; many of whom, and not by chance, have opposed the law,” he said.
Despite the overwhelming support for the law in Parliament, Volonte expressed his hope that the voice of the Belgian people will overcome. The Italian politician said that recent polls indicated that 55% of the Belgian population is against the law. “In short, Belgian society has reawakened,” he said.
Regarding the petition campaign that will be sent to the king, Volonte said that King Philippe can send the measure back to parliament. This “shameful law”, he said, was imposed by a majority that, above all, in a few months, will not be there any more.” If the measure is sent back, the Belgian Parliament will most likely be unable to pass a new measure prior to elections.
Volonte, who is also chairman of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, also raised the possibility of international pressure against the law, which he said, goes against the eugenics practices that have been banned by the United Nations.
Eugenics is the belief of improving genetic quality, which advocates the promotion of reproduction among people with desired genetic traits while reducing those with what is perceived as negative traits. One of the major proponents of the philosophy of eugenics was Adolf Hitler, whose pursuit of a “perfect race” led to the sterilization and murder of millions.
“There is enough for an international intervention against the slaughter of those who are considered “human waste” to eliminate. However, not only children, but also various adults – in Belgium there are quite a few cases – that are subjected to euthanasia without their consent,” he said. (J.A.E.)