Sexual abuse victim killed under Dutch euthanasia law

A woman in her twenties who suffered sexual abuse as a child has been euthanised in the Netherlands, in a case described as horrifying.

The unnamed woman was killed last year, despite treatment for trauma showing some signs of success.

MPs slammed the move and a disability rights group said it was deeply concerning that euthanasia should be seen as an answer to the damage of sexual abuse.

‘No hope’

The case involved a woman with post-traumatic stress disorder which manifested itself in depression, hallucinations and severe anorexia.

The Daily Mail reported that a psychiatrist said there was “no prospect or hope for her”, and that she “experienced her suffering as unbearable”.

On the advice of new doctors she underwent a trauma therapy course with some success, according to documents released by Dutch authorities.

However, consultants later decided the woman’s situation was without hope and she was deemed mentally competent to make the decision to be euthanised.

Deep wounds

Last year MPs in Westminster voted overwhelmingly against introducing assisted suicide – a form of euthanasia.

Labour MP Robert Flello said the Dutch case reinforces why “any move towards legalising assisted suicide” is dangerous.

Fiona Bruce, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, said: “What this woman needed, at a desperate point in her young life, was help and support to overcome her problems, not the option of euthanasia.”

The disability rights campaign group Distant Voices commented: “It is both horrifying and worrying that mental health professionals could regard euthanasia in any form as an answer to the complex and deep wounds that result from sexual abuse.”

Change of heart

It was reported last year that a woman in Belgium changed her mind about euthanasia on her death bed.

Emily, who suffered from severe depression and suicidal thoughts since childhood, was determined to die and received the go-ahead from three doctors.

But as she prepared to be given a lethal injection she told the doctor, “I cannot do it”.

A pro-life campaigner who previously had a ‘settled wish to die’ wrote in 2010: “If I had died, I would have missed the best years of my life”.