BELGIUM (Christian Examiner) -- A 24-year-old woman in Belgium is set to die by euthanasia later this summer simply because she has felt since childhood that she wanted to die.
According to LifeSite News, euthanasia for psychological reasons is allowed in Belgium when a psychiatrist says a person's psychological pain cannot be relieved in a manner acceptable to the individual. "That means Laura (last name unknown) may be treatable, but Laura has decided that the only acceptable 'treatment' is death," the pro-life news service reports.
Despite having friends and an interest in theater, Laura reportedly told a Belgian reporter, "Life is not for me." Laura has helped promote Libera Me, a new book that advocates euthanasia for psychological distress written by Lieve Thienpont, one of three psychiatrists who approved Laura's euthanasia application.
Laura grew up in a dysfunctional environment according to Belgian online newspaper De Morgen. Her mother left when she was only one and her father was an alcoholic and abusive. Laura spent her childhood going back and forth between loving grandparents and her mother who also abused alcohol.
At the age of six, Laura began thinking about suicide and engaged in self-cutting as a teenager. She spent time in a mental hospital but went on to study acting and established her own home. Despite numerous opportunities to take her own life, she never did so.
National Right to Life News Today reports Laura has already set the date for her death, planned her funeral, and written songs and a booklet.
Laura is not the only Belgium resident to utilize euthanasia for alleged mental health reasons. The nation's federal euthanasia commission reports 50-60 psychiatric patients are euthanized each year.
No prosecution attempts have been made in the country for abuse of euthanasia laws.
In a report published this week, The New Yorker told of the growing acceptance of euthanasia in Belgium by both physicians and the general public.
When a man whose mother was euthanized for psychological reasons filed a complaint with the Belgian Order of Physicians, public comments about his complaint accused him of placing his own needs above that of his mother, of not understanding the law, and of being secretly Catholic.
An atheistic, naturalist philosophy may lie at the heart of Belgium's growing acceptance of euthanasia for almost any reason.
In an exchange with New Yorker reporter Rachel Aviv, influential philosopher Etienne Vermeersch, longtime euthanasia proponent and former president of the Belgian Advisory Committee on Bioethics, spoke of death as an option with pros and cons just like any other choice.
"I mentioned that it appeared that a lot of people in Belgium were less afraid of death than I was," Aviv wrote.
"Vermeersch looked at me as if he were recalculating my age downward. 'How can you be afraid of nothing?' he said. 'Nothing can do you no harm.'
"I said, 'I'm afraid of not existing.'
'"Millions and billions of years you did not exist—what was the problem?'
'"But now I've formed relationships.'
'"After death, your relationships are finished,' he said brightly. 'You are in the state you were before conception.'"
Aviv said Vermeersch views Belgium's increasingly liberal euthanasia laws as a progeny of his life's work.
Canada has recently loosened restrictions on its euthanasia regulations.
Physician-assisted suicide garnered national attention in the United States in late 2014 when newlywed Brittany Maynard utilized Oregon's Death with Dignity Act to end her own life at the age of 29 after receiving a diagnosis of an inoperable brain tumor.
Earlier this month Christian Examiner reported California lawmakers advanced a bill authorizing doctors to write a prescription for suicide pills for those who have been told they have less than 60 days to live.
California would be the fifth state, after Oregon, Washington State, Montana, and Vermont, to approve the practice.
The Senate measure, which passed largely according to party lines on a 23-14 vote, allows for physicians to prescribe lethal drugs to the terminally ill.
Well-known advocates for the disabled and the mentally ill, Rick Warren and Joni Eareckson Tada, recently both strongly opposed the bill and are urging California voters to weigh in before the bill becomes law. They were joined another Christian leader June 23, Jose H. Gomez, the Archbishop of Los Angeles, who in an article in Christianity Today said assisted suicide is "hollow" compassion and offers violence.