A healthy 24-year-old woman in Belgium has been granted the right to die even though she has no life-threatening illness. Doctors have granted the woman the right to die because she is suffering from depression, and she qualifies for euthanasia in that country, according to MSN on Tuesday.
The law was passed in Belgium to legalize euthanasia in 2002. Belgium is the second country that has that law. The first in the world to legalize euthanasia was the Netherlands. The law in both countries states that doctors can help patients end their lives if they freely express a wish to die because they are suffering from intractable and unbearable pain.
Health professionals have given the woman, known simply by Laura, permission to receive a lethal injection because she has spent all of her childhood and her adult life suffering from “suicidal thoughts.” Laura has tried to kill herself several times. Laura has spoken freely about her desire to die. Doctors have not decided when Laura’s death will take place, but it can’t come soon enough for the young woman. She looks forward to the time when she can take the lethal injection to end her life once and for all.
“Death feels to me not as a choice. If I had a choice, I would choose a bearable life, but I have done everything and that was unsuccessful.”
Dr. Marc Van Hoey is a general practitioner and president of the Right to Die Association. He believes that sometimes euthanasia is the kindest option. He says he has seen a lot of people dying in agony, but he has never seen anyone die in agony who was given the euthanasia he or she requested.
Since the law was passed, there has been an increase in the number of euthanasia cases. In 2013, there were 1,807 deaths compared to 1,432 in 2012. Young people, as well as older people, are choosing to die legally. Only about half of the euthanasia cases are patients aged 70 and older.
Newsweek reported that Carine Brochier, a project manager with the Brussels-based European Institute of Bioethics, believes too many people are dying by euthanasia. She believes euthanasia is not the answer to all human suffering. Brochier contends that Belgium is taking the easy way out by allowing people to die when they can be given better palliative care.
Euthanasia is available in the Netherlands for sick children as young as 12 years old. Euthanasia for those not suffering from a life-threatening illness can be granted legally in the Netherlands, Belgium, Colombia and Luxembourg.