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Ethical? Dutch 17 year old girl raped as child- euthanized cause life had become unbearable

Noa Pothoven
Noa Pothoven assisted suicide euthanasia death of Dutch teen.
Noa Pothoven
Noa Pothoven assisted suicide euthanasia death of Dutch teen.

Noa Pothoven assisted suicide euthanasia death of Dutch teen moral dilemma: A teen girl from the Netherlands decides to end her own life after saying she could no longer survive following child rape incident. 

A 17-year-old Netherlands girl who was raped as a young child has been legally euthanized after ‘feeling’ she could no longer go on living.

Noa Pothoven died in a hospital bed in her living room on Sunday after being granted the right to euthanasia at a ‘end of life clinic’ after struggling with her mental health for years.

The Dutch teenager from Arnhem, felt that life had become unbearable and she could no longer carry on, local media reported

Noa Pothoven
Noa Pothoven assisted suicide euthanasia death of Dutch teen.

In Holland, children as young as 12 can be granted euthanasia if they desire, but only after a doctor concludes that the patient’s suffering is unbearable with no clear end in sight.

In 2017, some 6,585 people chose euthanasia to end their own lives in the Netherlands, about 4.4 per cent of the total number of more than 150,000 registered deaths in the country, according to the Regional Euthanasia Review Committee which strictly monitors all cases. 

The practice is hotly debated but illegal in the UK, but it’s legal in some US states, Canada and Belgium.   

Noa Pothoven
Noa Pothoven euthanasia death. Image via screenshot.

Noa Pothoven Winning or Learning: Was she unable to survive cause society had failed to offer her recourse to healing and coping mechanisms? 

Noa had penned an autobiography called ‘Winning or Learning’ about her battles with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anorexia after being molested and raped at a young age. 

Despite her psychological problems, Noa said she had tried to survive but that it was no longer possible.

Noa said she wanted her book to help vulnerable youngsters who struggle with life, saying that the Netherlands does not have specialized institutions or clinics where teenagers can go for psychological or physical aid.

According to Noa’s mother, Lisette, the book should be mandatory for social workers, but also for children’s judges and municipalities, who are responsible for youth care. She criticized the fragmented youth care and called the bureaucracy and the waiting lists ‘maddening.’

In a social media post one day before her death last Sunday, Noa made her decision public.

She wrote: ‘I deliberated for quite a while whether or not I should share this, but decided to do it anyway. 

‘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.

‘I will get straight to the point: within a maximum of 10 days I will die. 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.’

Noa added that she never felt as though she was ‘alive’, rather surviving, writing: ‘I breathe, but I no longer live.’

Finally she asked her friends and followers on Instagram to ‘not convince me that this is not good, this is my decision and it is final’.

‘Love is letting go, in this case,’ she added

Noa Pothoven
Noa Pothoven

Noa Pothoven assisted suicide euthanasia death of Dutch teen: Moral dilemma

While euthanasia is legal in Holland- the practice is fraught with ethical and moral dilemma along with risks of when does a society go too far in exercising the option to terminate a life?

Told Scott Fischbach, executive director of MCCL GO via lifenews in September, 2016: ‘Thousands of Dutch patients are intentionally killed by euthanasia or assisted suicide each year,’

‘Some are killed because they have dementia or psychiatric problems, like depression or post-traumatic stress. And some mentally incompetent patients are killed even though they have made no request to die.’

According to Dutch law, euthanasia is legal as long as it is performed in accordance with the strict standards described in the ‘Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act’ which was passed in parliament in 2001 and became law in 2002.

The law code reads: ‘Any person who deliberately terminates another person’s life at that person’s express and earnest request shall be liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding twelve years or a fifth-category fine’. 

But prosecutions can be suspended for doctors who carry out the practice under strict prerequisites. 

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The suicide death of Pothoven has led to some wondering whether she was mentally competent to make the decision to choose to end her own life, while others decry the notion of any body having the capacity to legally end any person’s life beyond that of terminal illness, while others including this author wonder at what point does a society deem ‘what is terminal, to be done away with, discarded, too complicated to continue,’ when so often such illnesses are innately tied to one’s state of mind as opposed to necessarily physical being?