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J Med Ethics. 2006 Mar;32(3):157-8.

The Groningen protocol: another perspective.

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  • 1The Jakobovits Center for Medical Ethics, POB 653, Beer-Sheva 84105, Israel.


The Groningen protocol allows for the euthanasia of severely ill newborns with a hopeless prognosis and unbearable suffering. We understand the impetus for such a protocol but have moral and ethical concerns with it. Advocates for euthanasia in adults have relied on the concept of human autonomy, which is lacking in the case of infants. In addition, biases can potentially influence the decision making of both parents and physicians. It is also very difficult to weigh the element of quality of life on the will to live. We feel an important line has been crossed if the international medical community consents to the active euthanasia of severely ill infants and are concerned about the extension of the policy to other at risk groups.

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