In the Netherlands, euthanasia is legal for those age 17 and over.
Noa Pothoven, who suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome and anorexia, was sexually abused at age 11 and raped three years later. She died by euthanasia in her own home on Sunday.
According to the report in the New York Post, while there are no reports that her parents challenged her decision to end her life, they did refuse to give her permission to do so a year ago, when she was 16. In the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been legal since 2001, at age 17 children no longer need the consent of parents to carry out suicide.
Pothoven had announced her plans to die in an Instagram post:
“Maybe this comes as a surprise to some, given my posts about hospitalization, but my plan has been there for a long time and is not impulsive,” she wrote.
“I will get straight to the point: within a maximum of 10 days I will die,” she added. “After years of battling and fighting, I am drained. I have quit eating and drinking for a while now, and after many discussions and evaluations, it was decided to let me go because my suffering is unbearable.
”I breathe, but I no longer live.”
Dr. Gordon Macdonald, of Care Not Killing, a UK-based group fighting the legalization of euthanasia, said the tragic case was the inevitable result of legalized euthanasia laws that don’t value every human life.
“This is shocking, yet shows what happens when universal protections that [protect] vulnerable people are removed. Tightly defined legislation that is only supposed to apply to mentally competent terminally ill adults gets systematically extended,” said Macdonald in a press release.
“This happens, because once you accept that some lives are not worthy of protection and should be ended, it is only a question of which lives and what conditions should qualify for assisted suicide, or euthanasia,” he said.
Under Holland’s euthanasia laws, depression is a legitimate reason for euthanasia as long as the patient can prove that they are suffering. The law allows doctors to assist in suicides if the following conditions are met:
- the patient’s suffering is unbearable with no prospect of improvement
- the patient’s request for euthanasia must be voluntary and persist over time (the request cannot be granted when under the influence of others, psychological illness or drugs)
- the patient must be fully aware of his/her condition, prospects, and options
- there must be consultation with at least one other independent doctor who needs to confirm the conditions mentioned above
- the death must be carried out in a medically appropriate fashion by the doctor or patient, and the doctor must be present
- the patient is at least 12 years old (patients between 12 and 16 years of age require the consent of their parents)
According to Care Note Killing, there were 6,585 euthanasia deaths in Holland in 2017. Of those, 169 had dementia, 83 had psychiatric disorders, and 293 suffered from “geriatric pathologies” or “old age.”
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