“Euthanasia and assisted suicide are a defeat for all. We are called never to abandon those who are suffering, never giving up but caring and loving to restore hope.”
This was the Pope’s message on his Twitter account on June 5, 2019, given Noa Pothoven’s death last Sunday, June 2.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide are a defeat for all. We are called never to abandon those who are suffering, never giving up but caring and loving to restore hope.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 5, 2019
Noa was a 17-year-old Dutch girl suffering from post-traumatic stress after several violations, anorexia and depression.
The young girl asked a private clinic of her country for specialized medical care to help her die. According to journalist Naomi O’Leary, her request was rejected but she died after refusing to eat or drink, a decision that her parents and doctors accepted.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal practices in the Low Countries, which 12-year-old children can request, with their parents’ permission, and 16-year-olds can request without parental consent. Noa’s family, in fact, lamented the lack of places in Holland for young people with physical and mental problems, such as those of their daughter.
In their article on the case of the assisted suicide of Maria Jose Carrasco, Justo Aznar Lucea, Director of the Institute of Life Sciences of the Catholic University of Valencia, and Emilio Garcia Sanchez, Professor of Bioethics and Health Sciences of the Cardinal Herrea CEU University (Valencia), stress the need to legislate on the subject of “quality palliative care” for people suffering physical and psychic ailments, such as Noa.
Commitment of Governments and Society
According to the article’s authors, “it’s a duty of the State to universalize the right and access to this care,” and that it’s an objective that can only be achieved “through the commitment of rulers and the collaboration of compassionate and solidary societies with the most vulnerable, to establish multi-disciplinary teams of medical professionals, nurses, psychologists, social workers and spiritual assistants.
They also stress that “at present, in all cases of suffering caused by physical and/or mental pain, palliative medicine has already demonstrated its efficacy to neutralize or at least diminish them.”