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Belgium nears approval of child euthanasia

Lawmaker Sonja Becq denounced the proposal, saying science can relieve suffering until death comes.
Lawmaker Sonja Becq denounced the proposal, saying science can relieve suffering until death comes.AFP/Getty Images

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BRUSSELS — Belgian lawmakers clashed sharply on Wednesday over whether to grant terminally ill children the right to ask to die, a legal option already possessed by the country’s adults.

The issue is pitting backers who see it as a question of mercy against opponents who claim the law is rushed, flawed and lacking medical rationale. Despite the spirited debate in the House of Representatives, the bill is widely expected to pass on Thursday.

The Senate, the other chamber of the federal legislature, adopted the legislation by a wide margin in December. If it passes in the House, all that would be needed for child euthanasia to become legal in Belgium is the signature of King Philippe, normally a formality.

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