Canada: ’12-year-olds should be given euthanasia option’

Children as young as twelve in Canada should be given access to euthanasia, according to a new report by an advisory panel.

The nine-member committee, including bioethicists and doctors, claims that children at that age could have the “capacity” to make their own life and death decisions.

In February, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that mentally competent adults who are terminally ill can access euthanasia.


The committee claims that the court did not define which age constitutes adulthood and argues for a lower threshold.

Although Maureen Taylor, the Co-Chair, ruled out giving the option to five and seven-year-olds, she said: “I could definitely see 12-year-olds having that capacity”.

Another member, Arthur Schafer, claimed that the “idea of an arbitrary age limit” seems “morally unacceptable” and “cruel and unfair”.

Vulnerable people

Last month, it was revealed that a 24-year-old Belgian woman with mental illness, who was told she could be euthanised, changed her mind on the day she was scheduled to be killed.

In a short documentary by The Economist, Emily described her longing for “peace” and a relief from her suffering, which she believed she could find in death.

But she said the weeks leading to her lethal injection were “relatively bearable”, resulting in a change of heart.

Ciarán Kelly, Head of Communications at The Christian Institute, said: “The fact that Emily changed her mind at the last moment shows the inherent dangers of giving some of the most vulnerable people in society access to state-licensed death.”