The Dutch government will permit doctors to euthanise terminally ill children aged between one and 12 after months of debate within the ruling coalition.
The country’s health minister, Hugo de Jonge, said a change in regulations was necessary to help “a small group of terminally ill children who agonise with no hope, and unbearable suffering”.
The government estimates that the new rules, lifting the threat of prosecution from doctors, will affect between five and 10 children per year who have no hope of improvement in their condition.
Belgium became the first country to allow for voluntary child euthanasia in 2014 when it legislated to allow euthanasia in cases where the young patient was terminally ill and in great pain. Two Belgian children aged nine and 11, became the first to be euthanised in 2016 and 2017.