Netherlands' first assisted suicide for disability

Xavier Symons
12 Oct 2013
Reproduced with Permission

A 70-year-old blind woman has become the first person in the Netherlands to be granted assisted suicide on the grounds of disability. The woman, unnamed by authorities, was deemed to be suffering unbearably from her "blindness" and was given a cocktail of barbiturates to drink. Whilst blindness is not usually sufficient justification for assisted suicide, this woman was deemed to be an exceptional case.

She had recently lost her husband, and she had already attempted to commit suicide several times. Doctors claim her blindness had a devastating impact on her mental well-being: "She was, for example, obsessed by cleanliness and could not stand being unable to see spots on her clothes," said assisting doctor Lia Bruin.

Conservative bioethicist Wesley Smith attacked lax euthanasia regulation in the Netherlands: "Strict conditions? Mentally ill people are euthanized. Disabled people are euthanized. Infants are killed in their cribs based on an 'unlivable life.'"