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Comment & Response
September 24, 2014

Euthanasia for Minors in Belgium—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 2New York University, New York
JAMA. 2014;312(12):1259. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.9885

In Reply Dr Chambaere and colleagues present a thoughtful response to our Viewpoint. However, we disagree that any age restriction on the availability of euthanasia is arbitrary.

As these authors acknowledge, the wisdom and self-reflectiveness required in making a decision for euthanasia are capacities that develop throughout the life cycle. It is significantly more likely that adolescents and young children, compared with older adults at the end of life, would be ill-equipped to make a decision of such magnitude. What we emphasized in our Viewpoint is that children lack the wisdom and experience requisite to make a sound choice about a decision of such magnitude.

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