Yesterday I posted, in good faith, an article that described the state-sanctioned assisted suicide of a 17-year-old girl in the Netherlands. Since this precisely echoed the plot of my novel Death’s Doors, I wrote about it.
Pothoven did indeed apply with a clinic for The Netherlands’ legal euthanasia process, but physicians reportedly denied her request, saying she was too young, her brain was not fully developed yet, and she should try more trauma treatment first.
Her recent death came after a long struggle with anorexia and depression, in which the teen ultimately refused to consume food, water, or anything to keep her alive.
The whole story seems to me to be still kind of muddy.
Nevertheless, the central point of my post was the evil of government-enabled
suicide, and in this case the government was in fact blameless.
So I apologize.
I have no doubt the Death’s Doors parallel is coming, but it is not yet.
A few years ago I published a novel based on a scenario I saw coming down the road, inevitable as the 1:00 train: The same legal theories that allowed a young girl to get an abortion without her parents’ approval would allow any child to commit suicide without the parents’ consent. The book is called Death’s Doors.
And now it’s come true.
The London Daily Mail reports that a 17-year-old girl, Noa Pothoven, has committed assisted suicide in her own living room. Her parents did not approve, but were legally powerless to prevent it.
According to the Dutch newspaper De Gelderlander, Noa’s parents had no idea she was unwell until her mother discovered a plastic envelope in her room filled with farewell letters to her parents, friends and acquaintances.
‘I was in shock,’ Lisette told De Gelderlander. ‘We didn’t get it. Noa is sweet, beautiful, smart, social and always cheerful. How is it possible that she wants to die?
‘We have never received a real answer. We just heard that her life was no longer meaningful. For only a year and a half have we known what secret she has carried with her over the years.’
I weep for the girl, but I also weep for those parents. It’s a parent’s job to be adult for their child, to stand in their way when they want to make disastrous choices. These parents have been stripped of that God-given duty and right. The girl probably thought that a lot of pain would go out of the world when she left. She was wrong. She left all her pain behind, for her parents to bear.