A 17-year-old from the Netherlands was legally euthanized over the weekend after successfully arguing that her past sexual abuse and subsequent battles with mental health were reason enough to end her life through assisted suicide.
What are the details?
Noa Pothoven died Sunday in her living room after being granted permission from the state to cut her life short. Pothoven, who penned an award-winning autobiography about her struggles ahead of her passing, titled, “Winning or Learning,” defended her decision on Instagram leading up to her death.
The teenager told her followers, “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,” according to a translation provided by the Daily Mail.
She then asked her audience not to try to talk her out of killing herself with the help of modern medicine, adding “Love is letting go, in this case.” Her Instagram account was made private during the writing of this article.
According to the Sun, Pothoven was molested at two separate children’s parties when she was 11 and 12, and then raped by two men when she was 14. She reported the attacks to police last year. Pothoven said her mother had “always been there for her,” but put in her request for euthanasia in 2018 without her parents’ knowledge, Sky News reported.
Under Dutch law, Pothoven’s parents had no say in the 17-year-old’s decision. Her mother, Lisette, told De Gelderlander last year that she and the girl’s father hoped their daughter’s symptoms could be treated, telling the outlet, “We, her parents, want her to choose the path of life. Noa really doesn’t want to die at all. She only longs for peace.”
In the Netherlands, children as young as 12 may be euthanized at their request if a physician deems their suffering to be “unbearable with no clear resolution in sight,” according to the Sun.
Pothoven’s case isn’t the first euthanasia death from Holland to make the headlines. In 2016, alcoholic Mark Landedijk had his doctor end his life after trying 21 stints in rehab to remedy his condition. Leading up to his euthanasia, he sat at his parents’ home and “laughed, drank, smoked, ate ham and cheese sandwiches and soup with meatballs” until the physician arrived to administer his lethal injection, according to the Independent.
“Inside Edition” reported that more than 6,500 people died through legal euthanasia in the Netherlands in 2017. The controversial practice is also allowed under certain circumstance in Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, the U.K., and several states in the U.S.
According to a recent column in the Calgary Herald, the rules restricting assisted suicide have loosened over the four years since Canada has legalized the procedure. Calling the trend a “slippery slope,” akin to a “vertical skating rink,” Licia Corbella wrote last month that proponents in that country are “urging that physicians should be allowed to kill depressed or lonely patients, including mature minors and sick children.”