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Physically healthy woman considers euthanasia, sparking debate over laws and the perception of suicide

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Zoraya ter Beek, a 28-year-old woman from the Netherlands, has chosen euthanasia due to severe mental health issues.

Despite being physically healthy, she suffers from depression, autism, and borderline personality disorder, and sees no other solution but death. She describes her upcoming euthanasia as taking a “nice nap” from which she will not wake up.

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In the Netherlands, euthanasia is legally performed by a physician at the patient’s explicit request, under strict conditions that the patient’s suffering is unbearable with no prospect of improvement. Ter Beek’s decision comes after her psychiatrist concluded that her conditions would not improve.

This procedure is typically an option for the terminally ill, but it is increasingly considered for those with psychiatric conditions, sparking debates about the ethics of such decisions. Critics, like healthcare ethicist Stef Groenewoud, argue that it seems to have become an easier option for professionals when dealing with difficult psychiatric cases.

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Theo Boer, a former euthanasia review board member, has observed a shift in practice, noting a troubling evolution from a last resort to a seemingly default option encouraged by societal changes and activism.

Ter Beek plans to undergo the procedure at home, in a calm environment with her boyfriend by her side, emphasizing a personal and serene approach to her chosen end.

Her story and the broader implications of euthanasia laws raise significant ethical and societal questions, particularly concerning the rights of individuals with non-terminal illnesses and the responsibilities of healthcare providers in such challenging cases.

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