Girl, 17, Chooses to Die After 'Unbearable Suffering': 'Love Is Letting Go'

Legal euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands.

UPDATE: A previous version of this story said Noa Pothoven died via assisted suicide. It's not clear whether doctors ended up assisting her.

A Dutch teen chose to die after struggling with her mental health for years following a sexual assault as a child. 

Noa Pothoven, 17, died last Sunday in the Netherlands after requesting the assistance of an end of life clinic, according to reports.

It's not clear whether doctors ended up assisting in Pothoven's death. A spokesperson for a member of the Dutch parliament reportedly said the death occurred because of Pothoven's refusal to eat. 

Euthanasia is legal in the country if performed under the strict rules of the Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide Act. The decision has to be approved by a doctor, and it has to be concluded that the patient’s suffering is unbearable and likely to continue. 

Pothoven took to Instagram one day before her death to talk about her decision.

She had previously written an autobiography titled “Winning or Learning” in which she discussed her battles with mental illness after having been molested and raped as a child, according to reports.

“I deliberated for quite a while whether or not I should share this, but decided to do it anyway,” she wrote. “Maybe this comes as a surprise to some, given my posts about hospitalization, but my plan has been there for a long time and is not impulsive.

"I will get straight to the point: within a maximum of 10 days I will die.”

She added that she’d been fighting for years and was now “drained,” and that she felt she had never been alive but was instead just “surviving.”

“I have quit eating and drinking for a while now, and after many discussions and evaluations, it was decided to let me go because my suffering is unbearable,” Pothoven wrote. “Love is letting go, in this case.”

She also asked people to please not try to convince her otherwise. 


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