Doctors in Belgium have granted a medically depressed woman the right to die because she is suffering from “suicidal thoughts”.
The 24-year-old woman, named only as ‘Laura’, has been given the go-ahead by doctors to be euthanized by lethal injection, despite not having a terminal illness.
According to the Belgian newspaper De Morgen, Laura, who entered a psychiatric facility at 21, told doctors she had suffered from depression since childhood and wished to end her life.
Speaking exclusively to De Morgen’s Simone Maas, she said: “life, that’s not for me.”
“Death feels to me not as a choice. If I had a choice, I would choose a bearable life, but I have done everything and that was unsuccessful.”
In an attempt to explain the foundation of her depression, Laura told De Morgen that she had had a troubled childhood.
She confessed that her parents had her when they were too young and that her father drank too much.
Although Laura later moved in with her grandparents, giving her an element of security, she admitted that this did not diminish her self-destructive thoughts.
“Even though my childhood certainly contributed to my suffering,” she told De Morgen, “I am convinced that I had had this death wish even though I grew up with a quiet, stable family.”
Recounting how as a six-year-old she once held a gun, which, unbeknownst to her, was loaded, she said: “If I had known this at that time, I might have pulled the trigger. I can easily imagine.”
According to reports, the date for Laura’s death is yet to be determined.
Belgium, the low-lying European nation famous for its chocolate, has the world’s most liberal law on doctor-assisted suicide where patients with mental health disorders - and now, according to the BBC, even children - can request euthanasia.
On February 13 last year, becoming the first country to remove any age limit on assisted suicide, parliament in Belgium passed a bill allowing euthanasia for terminally ill children by 86 votes to 44, with 12 abstentions.
Euthanasia was first decriminalized by the Belgian authorities in 2002.
According to The New Yorker’s Rachel Aviv, Belgium was the second country in the world, after the Netherlands, to permit the practice. It was followed by Luxembourg in 2009 and, this year, by Canada and Colombia. Swiss law has allowed assisted suicide since 1942.