BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Two committees of the Belgian Senate say the country's law permitting euthanasia should also apply to children in certain cases.

A joint meeting of the chamber's committees of social affairs and justice on Wednesday approved the proposal, 13-4. The bill, which has aroused intense debate in Belgium, must be examined next by the full Senate.

If finally approved by the legislature, children in Belgium suffering unbearable physical pain and in the terminal phases of a disease could request euthanasia, provided their parents consented.

A psychologist would have to certify that the child was aware of the consequences of the decision, and the child would have to be under medical care.