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Teen Rape Survivor Who Requested Euthanasia Ends Her Life

17-year-old Noa Pothoven suffered PTSD and depression
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2019 8:17 AM CDT
Noa Pothoven has died in the Netherlands, per reports.   (Getty Images/bankrx)

(Newser) – "After years of struggling and fighting, it's over." So reads a Dutch teen's "sad last post" Saturday on her Instagram account, noting she'd stopped eating and drinking and would soon be free from "[unbearable] suffering." The Washington Post reports on the right-to-die case of 17-year-old Noa Pothoven, who suffered from PTSD, depression, and anorexia after being sexually assaulted at age 11, then raped at 14. Noa's sister confirmed her death Sunday, with the Australian reporting Noa died at her Arnhem home after saying goodbye to family and friends. Noa wrote that her decision wasn't "impulsive," made only "after many conversations and assessments." It's not clear whether Noa had the help of any doctors in dying. Noa kept her sexual assaults secret for years from her parents out of "fear and shame," per an autobiography she wrote; her mom finally found out what she'd been through when she found goodbye letters Noa had written.

Noa had sought doctors' assistance last year at the Hague's end-of-life clinic, without her parents' knowledge, and was rejected. Her mom and dad had hoped she'd change her mind: Her father told a Dutch paper they wished Noa would "see bright spots [in life] again, perhaps fall in love or learn to discover that life is worth living," per the New York Post. In the Netherlands, which legalized euthanasia in 2001, kids as young as 12 can seek assisted suicide, though until they're 17 they need a parental OK and, like all euthanasia seekers, must demonstrate "hopeless and unbearable suffering." In the US, seven states and the District of Columbia permit assisted suicide, though patients have to take life-ending drugs themselves; New Jersey is set to join that list starting Aug. 1. (Read more euthanasia stories.)

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