On Thursday, 12 December, following approval by the Senate’s Joint Justice and Social Affairs Commission (Gènéthique press review on November 25th, 2013), the first stage in the legislative process, the Belgian Senate unanimously adopted the draft bill to extend euthanasia to minors in Belgium.
With 50 votes in favour to 17 against, the draft bill was adopted by socialist and liberal members of the majority government, and by ecologists and senators belonging to the Nationalist Flemish Party, NVA, members of the opposition party. Only the Centre Christian Democrat Senators, members of the majority government, and the Extreme Right Flemish Party, Vlaams Belang, members of the opposition, voted against the bill.
The last stage in the process will be the Chamber of Representatives. Legislative elections will be held on 25 May 2014 and "there is no guarantee that MPs will have time to examine the draft bill". But the socialists remain determined. In fact, socialist Karine Lalieux declared: "We want this law to be permanently adopted before dissolution of the chambers".
If this bill is adopted, Belgium will be the second country to authorise euthanasia for minors after the Netherlands.