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Rome Reports

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Pontifical Academy for Life: Child euthanasia is not the answer

"The lack of health, and disability are not good reasons to exclude, or worse, do away with a person.â? That is the message the Pope sent members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which gathered in Rome in February for its 20th anniversary.  Dozens of experts talked about aging and disabilities. Pope Francis reminded them that "the tyranny of an economic logicâ? turns many people into victims, "starting with the elderly.â? MONICA LOPEZ BARAHONA Academic Director, Centro de Estudios Biosanitarios (Spain) "The new idea in this case is to take back the culture of love, of love towards the elderly. To reclaim the value that old age has when it comes to experience gained, and experience that can be passed on.â?   In the more developed countries, populations are aging fast. In an effort to tackle the "throw-away culture,â? experts said the key is in engaging, not excluding family members who cannot fend for themselves. ENCARNACION PEREZ BRET Hospital Centro de Cuidados LAGUNA (Spain) "What we have to do is see in what way that person's limitations and dependency are developing. Also to find out what that person expects from us, and what we can do within our means to be close to them, support and help them.â? In February, Belgium approved the practice of child euthanasia. It's the first country to legalize assisted suicide for minors. Catholic experts were clear about their stance on the issue. MONICA LOPEZ BARAHONA Academic Director, Centro de Estudios Biosanitarios (Spain) "I don't think that within the experience gained by pediatricians, in working with children with terminal illnesses, you will find a mother or father who wouldn't want three more hours of life for their child. This is not resolved with euthanasia. This topic is dealt with palliative care. The issues is solved with an interdisciplinary team, made up not just of doctors, but also with nurses, and psychological and spiritual support for the parents and child in their last moments.â? VINCENZO DI LAZZARO  Neurology Department, Rome University "That practice is a way to undervalue the potential of humans, and reduce them simply to a physical machine. If something is broken, throw it away. That is not how you deal with it. Humans are much more than that.â? John Paul II established the Pontifical Academy for Life in 1994. Its main goal is to deal with issues relating to life, from conception to natural death. The Academy's first president was Jérí´me Lejeune, the doctor that discovered the genetic mutation that causes Down Syndrome. His beatification process is now underway. AC/RCA AA/MG/Centro LAGUNA VM -PR Up:JRB #World