Doctors in the Netherlands performed euthanasia on a young woman who was a former victim of sexual abuse. At the time of her death, the young woman was only in her 20’s. The young woman had been the victim of sexual abuse from age 5 to age 15 and experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic depression, anorexia, and tendencies to self-harm. Her psychiatrist stated that “there was no prospect or hope” for the young woman. Records show that the young woman had received intensive trauma therapy about two years before her death and that her mental state had begun improving. Doctors, however, eventually decided that she was beyond treatment and they stated that she was “totally competent” and that there was “no major depression or other mood disorder which affected her thinking.” It is believed that this is the first case where a sexual abuse victim has been killed by doctors because of the suffering experienced afterwards. Although she died in 2015, news of her case has only recently come to light based on papers released by the Dutch Euthanasia Commission.

Euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands since 2002. Under Dutch law, a person can end his or her life with euthanasia if the person has unbearable suffering with no prospect of improvement. This includes unbearable psychological suffering, such as depression. The number of people with mental health issues killed by euthanasia in the Netherlands has quadrupled in the last four years. Official statistics for 2015 show that 56 people received a lethal injection because they were suffering “unbearably” from psychiatric problems. The total number of people who died due to euthanasia in 2015 was 5,561.

What do you think? Should euthanasia be permitted in situations like this? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Learn more about what the Catholic Church teaches on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.