Amsterdam, October 20: The Dutch government announced plans to allow doctors to end the lives of terminally ill children who are under 13 years old. It is believed that this decision will start the debate over physician-assisted death.

The Netherlands already allows doctors to facilitate the deaths of children who are over 12 or less than 1 year old as long as their parents have given. According to a New York Times report, the Dutch health minister, Hugo de Jonge in a letter to the Parliament proposed expanding the law to include children between the ages of 1 and 12 who are dying and suffering.

“In a small number of cases, palliative care isn’t sufficient. Because of that, some children suffer unnecessarily without any hope of improvement," Jonge mentioned in the letter.

Doctors in the country are worried and have expressed their concern that they could be held criminally liable if they were to help end the lives of “incurably ill” children between 1 and 12 because the law had no provision for children that age who are expected to die imminently.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Oct 20, 2020 02:01 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website