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Belgian Senate passes child euthanasia bill

Thursday, 12 Dec 2013 | 4:11 PM ET
A nurse helps a baby with a respiratory mask, at the intensive care unit of the Queen Fabiola Children's Hospital in Brussels, Belgium.
Yves Logghe | AP
A nurse helps a baby with a respiratory mask, at the intensive care unit of the Queen Fabiola Children's Hospital in Brussels, Belgium.

Belgium's Senate has strongly supported legislation that would extend the country's euthanasia law to children under certain conditions.

Senators on Thursday voted 50-17 in favor of the proposed law. If adopted, it will decriminalize euthanasia for children, if they are in great pain, suffer from a terminal condition and are expected to die soon.

The children would have to submit a written request to be euthanized, and be aware of what their request meant. No age limit would be set, but the children would have "to possess the capacity of discernment." Their parents or legal representatives also would have to support the request in writing.

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives.

The Catholic Church opposes the measure, but one co-sponsor said it is likely to be enacted.

—By The Associated Press

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