A victim of childhood sex abuse was allowed to end her life under Dutch euthanasia laws after doctors and psychiatrists concluded that the woman's post-traumatic stress disorder and physical health were incurable. The death of the Dutch woman in her 20s has fuelled the ongoing debate on the ethics of euthanasia in Britain, with some MPs arguing that allowing a victim of sex abuse to die is equivalent to punishing the victim.
The details of the case were documented by the Dutch Euthanasia Commission, which revealed that the woman began to suffer from mental disorders about 15 years ago. She was suffering from severe anorexia, chronic depression, suicidal mood swings, tendencies to self-harm, hallucinations, obsessions and compulsions. She was also almost entirely bedridden, according to a report.
The woman is said to have faced abuse between the ages of five and 15. She has been undergoing treatment for her condition and even showed some signs of progress a couple of years before her death in 2015. However, her psychiatrist concluded that "there was no prospect or hope for her". A final GP's report approved the "termination of life" order, after which the woman was killed by an injection of lethal drugs, the MailOnline reported, citing the commission's report.
In Britain, Labour MP Robert Flello condemned the death, saying: "It almost sends the message that if you are the victim of abuse, and as a result you get a mental illness, you are punished by being killed, that the punishment for the crime of being a victim is death. It serves to reinforce why any move towards legalising assisted suicide, or assisted dying, is so dangerous."
Tory MP Fiona Bruce, chairman of the Parliamentary All-Party Pro-Life Group, termed the incident "tragic" and said euthanasia should never be legalised in the country. "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," she said.
Nikki Kenward of the disability rights group Distant Voices echoed similar views, calling the decision to allow sex abuse victims to choose death "both horrifying and worrying."