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Since 2002, Belgium has permitted terminally or incurably ill adults to request and receive euthanasia from a doctor.Although Belgium's euthanasia law now has no specific age requirement – differing from Dutch law, which permits euthanasia for minors who are at least 12 years old – it does require the person requesting euthanasia to have a demonstrable capacity for rational decision-making. This effectively excludes very small children from the law's scope. In announcing the first use of the law by a minor, the head of Belgium's federal euthanasia commission pointed out that there are very few children for whom the question of euthanasia is raised. If Sgreccia had responded to the teenager's death by saying that the Belgian law denies that children have a duty to live, he might have begun a useful debate to clarify differences between those who believe that there is such a duty and those who do not.This is not true of minors requesting euthanasia.For these reasons, Belgium's extension of its law on euthanasia to minors with a demonstrable capacity for rational decision-making does not deny anyone's right to life.
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