A woman who was paralyzed in a diving accident at age 17, and has spent her life advocating for the handicapped, authoring dozens of books, becoming a recording artist, and being recognized as an accomplished painter, is warning America about the trend that is developing in Europe.
Even for children.
In an interview with Christian Concern at the recent National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville, Joni Eareckson Tada discussed the move in Belgium to authorize euthanasia for children.
That was signed into law shortly after her interview.
"It will be the most liberal euthanasia law in the world. At least in the Netherlands they provide euthanasia opportunities for people but not under the age of 12. This [Belgian] law extends euthanasia to children," she said.
"We're very concerned in America," she said, "watching this trend in Europe. We're praying that there will be a backlash from the Belgian people â¦ against this law."
She noted that the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child calls on nations to assure that children with special needs are provided special treatment.
"To allow a child to die? Is that special treatment?" she said. "We must not let compassion be redefined in such manner."
She suggested that lawmakers in Belgium should rethink their work.
"I'm sure the Belgian parliament would agree that minors should not have access to alcohol, should not have access to porn, should not have access to tobacco. But yet minors, for some reason, they feel should have access to three grams of phenobarbitol in their veins? Just doesn't make sense."
Christian Concern works throughout the United Kingdom to restore the Christian faith, which shaped and defined the nation for centuries.
The organization, however, is worried.
"In the last few decades the nation has largely turned her back on Jesus and embraced alternative ideas such as secular liberal humanism, moral relativism and sexual license. The fruit of this is rotten, and can be seen in widespread family breakdown, immorality and social disintegration."
The king of Belgium ultimately signed the euthanasia plan into law, allowing his country to be the first in the world to allow the deliberate deaths of terminally ill children of all ages.
The Christian Institute reported that a petition including 200,000 signatures was delivered, but failed to convince the king not to sign.
During the parliamentary discussion, where it passed 86-44 with 12 abstentions, more than 160 pediatricians opposed the idea.
Euthanasia was legalized for adults there in 2002, and in 2011 the toll was 1,000 lives, a 4,620 percent increase from the first year.
Among the dead included those who were not terminally ill, including a pair of deaf twins.
The Institute reported, "A freelance journalist who has cerebral palsy spoke out recently in the Times, saying he may never have been alive if the Belgian law existed in Britain. Alex Taylor's parents were told by a doctor that he would "never think, let alone speak, read or write.'"
"As it turned out, I studied history and politics at Warwick University, and have been known to have a sense of humor," he said.
Tada recently was in the headlines when her song, "Alone Yet Not Alone, was nominated for an Academy Award, then withdrawn, because of emails sent around Hollywood talking about the movie in which the song was used:
Listen to the original song: