The Atlantic

How Dutch Law Got a Little Too Comfortable With Euthanasia

The story of a 17-year-old’s assisted death wasn’t real—but it could have been.
Source: Image Source via Getty

However alarmist some stories about Noa Pothoven’s death might have been, one should remember that euthanasia of a minor as young as 16 for psychiatric suffering is indeed legal in the Netherlands.

Pothoven, a 17-year-old girl in that country, had struggled with depression, anorexia, and post-traumatic stress disorder, reportedly after being sexually abused at age 11 and raped at 14. She had sought permission for medical euthanasia and announced on Instagram that she intended to die. Her passing on June 3 prompted news stories around the world, their dramatic headlines an implicit rebuke of Dutch assisted-death policies.

In most countries, the debate over physician-assisted suicide has centered on adults in the final stages of incurable physical illnesses. Pothoven’s age and mental illness made her case quite different,.

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