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Debate continues after healthy 29-year old dutch woman is granted assisted suicide

Assisted Suicide
22 May 2024
Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia 28p129 3 0

The decision of a 29-year-old Dutch woman, Zoraya ter Beek, to pursue euthanasia due to severe mental health struggles has sparked a significant debate across Europe.

Ter Beek, who has battled chronic depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder since childhood, has been granted permission for assisted dying by Dutch authorities.

Despite being physically healthy, she has found her mental suffering unbearable and untreatable after numerous failed treatments​.

The Netherlands, known for its progressive euthanasia laws, permits assisted suicide for individuals experiencing "unbearable suffering with no prospect of improvement."

The number of cases like ter Beek's are on the rise: in 2023, 138 cases involving psychiatric suffering took place.

Ter Beek's case, however, is notable as it involves mental health issues rather than a terminal physical illness. This has reignited discussions on the ethical implications and the scope of euthanasia laws.

Critics argue that offering euthanasia for mental health reasons might set a concerning precedent, while supporters emphasise the importance of respecting personal autonomy.

Stef Groenewoud, a healthcare ethicist, voiced concerns about the growing acceptance of euthanasia for psychiatric disorders, suggesting it should remain a last resort rather than a common option​.

Ter Beek’s procedure is scheduled to take place at her home, with her partner present for support. She expressed mixed emotions, feeling both determined and guilty about her decision due to the impact on her loved ones.

The broader implications of her case continue to fuel discussions on the ethical boundaries of euthanasia and the support systems for individuals with severe mental health issues​.

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Assisted Suicide

Where assisted suicide is legal, it makes vulnerable people feel like a burden. CARE works to uphold laws that protect those people, and to assist them to live—not to commit suicide.

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