Pope Francis condemned assisted suicide as a “defeat for all” after a mentally tormented Dutch teen starved herself to death with consent from doctors and her parents.
Noa Pothoven, 17, was allowed to die Sunday in a hospital bed at her parents’ Arnhem home — where her parents and doctors agreed not to force-feed her against her will, Politico Europe reported.
“Euthanasia and assisted suicide are a defeat for all,” Francis tweeted Wednesday. “We are called never to abandon those who are suffering, never giving up but caring and loving to restore hope.”
Her death is “a great loss,” the Vatican said, as it implored others to look for positive reasons to live.
“Noa’s death is a great loss for any civil society and for humanity,” the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life said in a tweet. “We must always assert the positive reasons for life.”
The teen’s death initially was reported as a state-sanctioned euthanasia in many outlets, but she ultimately died from starvation and dehydration.
Noa had previously pursued death by euthanasia more than a year ago as she battled depression, anorexia and post-traumatic stress disorder. She wrote about suffering “unbearable pain” after being raped and sexually assaulted as a child.
Without the knowledge of her parents, the teen had requested that doctors administer euthanasia, but was rejected for the procedure.
Reports of Noa’s pleas to end her life set off a debate about the ethics of procedures such as euthanasia and assisted suicide.
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