Why is a physically healthy 28-year-old woman scheduled for assisted dying?

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According to the Daily Wire, a 28-year-old Dutch woman with no physical health conditions is scheduled to die by euthanasia only because she is depressed.

Zoraya ter Beek says she has mental health issues, autism, and borderline personality disorder and that her psychiatrist told her, “There’s nothing more we can do for you. It’s never gonna get any better.”

She told The Free Press, “I was always very clear that if it doesn’t get better, I can’t do this anymore.”

Her suicide is scheduled for early May and she plans to be cremated because, she said, “I did not want to burden my partner with having to keep the grave tidy. We have not picked an urn yet, but that will be my new house!” However, she also said her boyfriend will sprinkle her ashes in a spot they have chosen in the woods.

Though she once desired to be a psychiatrist, ter Beek said she never had the will to finish her education or begin a career. She lives with her 40-year-old boyfriend and two cats in a nice house in a little Dutch town near the German border. But, she said, she’s tired of living.

Assisted death is not peaceful

She will die in her living room on the couch, she explained, after a doctor gives her a sedative and then a drug to stop her heart.

“The doctor really takes her time. It is not that they walk in and say: lay down please! Most of the time it is first a cup of coffee to settle the nerves and create a soft atmosphere,” she said. “Then she asks if I am ready. I will take my place on the couch. She will once again ask if I am sure, and she will start up the procedure and wish me a good journey. Or, in my case, a nice nap, because I hate it if people say, ‘Safe journey.’ I’m not going anywhere.”

Dr. Joel Zivot, an associate professor of anesthesiology and surgery at the Emory School of Medicine, is considered an expert on “physician participation in lethal injection.” He explained that paralytic drugs are used in both euthanasia and executions. “These drugs,” he said, “given in high enough doses, mean that a patient cannot move a muscle, cannot express any outward or visible sign of pain. But that doesn’t mean that he or she is free from suffering.”

Zivot further explained that while to onlookers, it may appear that the person is not suffering, the truth is that the person being killed “may end up drowning [in their own secretions], not just falling asleep.”

A study in the medical journal Anaesthesia further shows the horror of assisted death. It analyzed data from the Netherlands and found that prolonged, painful deaths from assisted suicide and euthanasia were not rare, with a third of patients taking 30 hours to die. A small number — 4% — took seven days to die. Various experiments show that assisted death can be painful as well, with one drug cocktail reportedly “burning patients’ mouths and throats, causing some to scream in pain.” Even some drugs considered too risky to be used for executions are used in physician-assisted death.

Only after ter Beek has died will a review committee evaluate the situation to ensure the doctor who killed her adhered to “due care criteria” and that ter Beek died lawfully.

She admitted, “I’m a little afraid of dying, because it’s the ultimate unknown. We don’t really know what’s next — or is there nothing? That’s the scary part.”

Assisted Death no longer about having a terminal illness

The Free Press notes that ter Beek is not alone. She is part of an increasing number of individuals who are seeking out physician-assisted death due to pain that is treatable. This includes depression and other mental health concerns.

“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,” said Stef Groenewoud, a healthcare ethicist at Theological University Kampen.

Theo Boer, a healthcare ethics professor at Protestant Theological University, served on a euthanasia review board in the Netherlands from 2005 to 2014 before he resigned. He said, “In those years, I saw the Dutch euthanasia practice evolve from death being a last resort to death being a default option.” He said people like ter Beek are being encouraged to kill themselves because euthanasia laws destigmatize suicide and the media glamorizes it.

Suicide contagion and discrimination

One such example of glorified suicide is that of former Dutch Prime Minister Dries van Agt and his wife Eugenie, who were euthanized together just a few months ago. The media romanticized their suicides saying they died “hand in hand.”

Another example is Robin Williams, who was described as “free” after his death. This mindset, disturbingly, appears to be encouraging more people to kill themselves.

Zivot said people are becoming victims of suicide contagion.

Society and the media are quick to promote campaigns such as World Suicide Prevention Day and the Centers for Disease Control offer suicide prevention strategies. At the same time, assisted suicide and euthanasia are celebrated as a free choice. The difference is that suicide is seen as tragic when it is carried out by a young, able-bodied person but a cause of celebration when carried out by someone who is physically ill, mentally ill, or elderly.

It’s discrimination. It’s a eugenics-based double standard that’s glaringly obvious. Individuals who are seeking to end their own lives — whether assisted by a doctor or not — often feel as though they are a burden. Legal euthanasia confirms to them that they are. In fact, rather than helping them overcome their challenges, legalized euthanasia tells vulnerable individuals that they should die because life is too hard for them and those around them.

At 28 years old, Zoraya ter Beek has no idea what goodness awaits her in life or what treatments may emerge to help her overcome her depression. Instead of being offered hope, she’s being encouraged to kill herself.

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