Christian author and quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada has said the Belgian child euthanasia law is “devastating” and redefines compassion.
Speaking to Christian Concern during a conference of Christian broadcasters in the US, Tada said it is “the most liberal euthanasia law in the world”.
She made the comments ahead of the King of Belgium signing the controversial Bill into law earlier this month.
It allows euthanasia for terminally ill children of all ages.
Tada highlighted the UN convention on the rights of the child which says a disabled child should receive special care.
She said, “that’s our global mandate to safeguard children, so what do we feel special treatment is: to allow a child to die? Is that special treatment?”
Tada explained that “we must not let compassion be redefined in such a manner”.
She commented, “what is so sad is that I’m sure the Belgian parliament would agree that minors should not have access to alcohol, should not have access to pornography, should not have access to tobacco, but yet minors for some reason they feel should have access to three grams of phenobarbitone in their veins – it just doesn’t make sense”.
The child euthanasia Bill became law in Belgium despite widespread opposition, including a 200,000-strong Europe-wide petition which was delivered to King Philippe urging him not to back the legislation.
The Bill was passed by the Belgian parliament in February, by 86 votes to 44, with 12 abstentions.
In 2002 Belgium became the second country in the world, after the Netherlands, to allow euthanasia.
The Chief Executive of UK disability charity Scope warned that British disabled people “will be looking nervously” at Belgium’s decision to introduce child euthanasia.
Richard Hawkes cautioned against “loud, well-organised” calls to allow assisted suicide in Britain, and said lots of people, “not least disabled people”, “are really worried at the way we seem to be edging towards a change in the law”.
Joni Eareckson Tada, 64, became paralysed from the shoulders down when she was 17 following a diving accident.
Since then she has set up an organisation for international Christian ministry to the disabled community, and is an award-winning author of close to 50 books.
Tada is also pro-life, saying in a Huffington Post blog in 2011: “No one but God can determine whether or not keeping someone alive is “worth it.”