As Belgium prepares to become the first country in the world to enact a law permitting euthanasia of children, Jessica Saba, 4, of Lachine, Quebec Canada asks the King of Belgium to refuse to sign the legislation.
"For the sake of the children, please do not sign the Euthanasia Bill," Jessica pleads in this video released on Feb. 2, 2014
Jessica was born in Montreal, Canada in May 2009 with a severe cardiac malformation: a completely blocked valve and underdeveloped ventricle. She would have survived for only a few hours or days without a series of cardiac interventions, which were performed at Montreal's Children's Hospital. At six days, her valve was unblocked and gradually her underdeveloped ventricle began to form. If Jessica had been born in a country where pediatric euthanasia is permitted, she might have been a candidate for euthanasia and her story would be very different than the one in this video.
Millions of children are born each year with severe congenital malformations. Like Jessica, many of them would be candidates for euthanasia. If euthanasia is legalized in Belgium, there is a danger the precedent could lead to the extension of pediatric euthanasia worldwide. Currently in Quebec, the government is attempting to pass its own euthanasia law, which is very similar to the law passed in Belgium about 10 years ago. The Quebec Human Rights Commission is recommending extension of euthanasia to children.
Dr Paul Saba, a family physician in Lachine, Quebec and the father of Jessica, also makes a personal appeal to the King not to sign the law extending euthanasia to Belgian children. He notes that euthanasia started in Belgium for those suffering physically and now has been expanded to those who are suffering mentally. It began with adults and is now being extended to children. He also argues that there is no need for anyone to suffer who has excellent medical care. For those who are at the end of life, good palliative care will stop all physical suffering. Those who claim that family members have suffered at the end of life, did not witness good palliative care being provided. Jessica's mother Marisa shares the struggles and joys of Jessica and warns that a pediatric euthanasia law might encourage parents of sick or handicapped children "to give up too early." What parents and children need is to be surrounded with love and support for life and not euthanasia.
Jessica's older sister Eliana and brother John-Anthony also talk about their sister.