Dutch autistic woman set to be euthanized because she feels ‘sad and gloomy’

euthanized, disability, assisted suicide, Canada

A healthy woman in her 30s is being euthanized in the Netherlands because she is autistic and suffers from depression.

Jolanda Fun told the Sunday Times that she is planning to die on April 25th, and has already pre-planned her own funeral. “Born from love, let go in love,” is the phrase featured in funeral cards she designed. “After a hard-fought life, she chose the peace she so longed for.”

Fun has a number of mental health issues, including an eating disorder, depression, autism and mild learning difficulties. “Dark, overstimulation, chaos in my head, loneliness,” she said of how she feels inside.

She further said she has never been able to keep a job, and that therapies have not helped her. Though she has a loving family and supportive friends, it has made no difference. “Most of the time I just feel really sh*tty,” she said. “Sad, down, gloomy. People don’t see it, because that’s the mask I put on and that’s what you learn to do in life.”

Committing suicide has been a lifelong goal for her. “My father is sick, my mother is sick, my parents are fighting to stay alive, and I want to step out of life,” she said. “That’s a bit strange. But even when I was seven, I asked my mother whether, if I jumped from a viaduct, I would be dead. I’ve been struggling with this my whole life.”

And now, thanks to lax laws regarding euthanasia in the Netherlands, she is able to kill herself, though she frames it in a positive manner.

“The rules are very strict,” she said. “You don’t just get euthanasia, there’s a whole journey… But it is death in a dignified way: painless, done by a doctor. Your loved ones can be there. And nobody discovers you in an appalling state — or you don’t end up unlucky and even worse off than before [after attempting suicide].”

READ: Belgian teenager euthanized days after 16th birthday

Not everyone is happy about this turn of events; even Boudewijn Chabot, a psychiatrist who committed the first reported case of euthanasia for psychiatric reasons in the 1990s, worries euthanasia has gone too far. “I am not against euthanasia in psychiatry or severe dementia,” he wrote in his book, “Uitweg.”

“I am extremely concerned that doctors are trying to solve social misery due to lack of treatment and care, by opening the gate to the end.”

Disturbingly, Fun is not the only woman set to be euthanized for disability in the Netherlands; 28-year-old Zoraya ter Beek is also physically healthy, but has depression and autism. Her suicide is scheduled for May. And some are saying that medical professionals dealing with psychiatric disorders are turning to euthanasia more readily than before.

“I see the phenomenon especially in people with psychiatric diseases, and especially young people with psychiatric disorders, where the healthcare professional seems to give up on them more easily than before,” Stef Groenewoud, a healthcare ethicist at Theological University Kampen, said earlier this month; Theo Boer, a healthcare ethics professor at Protestant Theological University, served on a euthanasia review board in the Netherlands for nine years before resigning, arguing that people like ter Beek are being encouraged to die. “In those years, I saw the Dutch euthanasia practice evolve from death being a last resort to death being a default option,” he said.

Euthanasia due to mental illness has increased in the Netherlands; between 2022 and 2023, the number of requests increased by 50%, while actual deaths rose by 20%.

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