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Belgium backs child euthanasia

Belgian MPs have voted overwhelmingly to extend the country's euthanasia law to children under 18.

The 86-44 vote today in the House of Representatives, with 12 abstentions, followed approval by the Senate last December.

The law empowers children with terminal ailments who are in great pain to request to be put to death if their parents agree and a psychiatrist or psychologist find they are conscious of what their choice signifies.

The law was opposed by some Belgian paediatricians and the country's leading Roman Catholic cleric.

The law will go into effect when signed by Belgium's monarch, King Philippe. The king was not expected to oppose the measure.

Belgium's euthanasia law, passed in 2002, previously applied only to legal adults.

AP

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