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The Flemish Socialist party, a member of Belgium’s coalition government, has called for a change in the country’s euthanasia rules to give under 18s – or the parents of younger children – the right to choose assisted suicide.

The proposed rules for children would be similar to those for adults.

Currently a patient seeking euthanasia must request it more than once, and be terminally ill and constantly suffering.

The proposal is similar to one floated by prime minister Guy Verhofstadt’s Liberal Democrats, but is unlikely to become law.

Euthanasia was legalised in Belgium in 2002.

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