To say I am disturbed is an understatement. A healthy (somewhat) 17-year-old Dutch girl legally chose euthanasia this week. I get that she had a friggin horrible start to life being raped and abused, but my mind can’t reconcile that as a society we accept such a young person could choose euthanasia. In Australia, she wouldn’t even be old enough to vote. I also understand she could have just as easily chosen suicide. However, suicide is not a legal process. The precedent that was chosen through the legal system is a frightening one.
In writing this I don’t want to diminish the pain and trauma this girl had suffered in her short life but I do question a few things. Firstly age. Teens are confused little beings with hormones in turbo spin. They are generally rebelling against not only themselves but anything and everything. Maturity doesn’t smack them in the face until they exit their teen years. To say that she was accessed by a medical expert before the courts allowed this does not sit well.
Secondly, the precedent that has been set. I am not opposed to euthanasia. I have put numerous pets to sleep when they no longer had the quality of life and I do believe people with terminal or debilitating illnesses have that right too. I do however have reservations about the precedents that are set. Euthanasia is a legal process and once it allows relatively healthy teens to choose death, the boundaries have extended too far. What next? Euthanasia for the elderly who can’t afford a nursing home?
PSST: Apparently, in the Netherlands, the starting age for euthanasia is 12 years of age.