Dorothy Cummings McLean

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Aurelia Brouwers before she was legally euthanized in Deventer on January 26, 2018. Aurelia Brouwers / Facebook

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The heartbreaking story of how a mentally ill girl was encouraged to legally kill herself

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

DEVENTER, Netherlands, February 2, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A mentally ill woman of 29 was put to death by voluntary lethal injection in the Netherlands last week after, sadly, manipulating the general public to cheer on her will to die. 

Aurelia Brouwers wanted to die, and she made sure people knew it. She did this not only through conventional mainstream media, but through social media, such as Facebook and Instagram. 

 Aurelia has done an awful thing and enjoyed doing it. 

Not only has she ended her own life, but she has put herself forward as a heroine for the Culture of Death, blatantly hoping to inspire the state-sanctioned killings of other unhappy people bent on self-destruction. 

Although she made it clear to reporters and fans that she hated herself and her life, Aurelia nevertheless had a “bucket list” of treats she hoped to experience before her demise. Indeed, Dutch celebrities came to see her and be photographed with her in the days before her January 26 execution. 

The one excuse I find for her actions is the same reason she should not have been granted her death-wish: she was deeply and terribly mentally ill. She should not have been put to death merely because she wished it. Putting aside any religious argument against euthanasia for the moment, she was not capable of making a "rational and free decision" that euthanasia advocates champion as a necessary prerequisite for the act.  

Aurelia posted on social media many photographs of herself and articles describing her “fight” for euthanasia. She highlighted her mental illness numerous times. 

Despite her emphasis on being mentally ill, many of her followers praised her for “courage.” They supported her desire to die.  

These fans weren’t typing “JUMP, JUMP!”, but they might as well have been. 

They wished the deeply ill woman “a fantastic journey” and a “much nicer homecoming.” They assured her that she would be happy in her late mother’s arms, without a scrap of reflection that Aurelia hadn’t found happiness in her mother’s arms when she was still alive.

They called her a hero and an inspiration to others. Although they were willing to bolster Aurelia’s belief that her suicide was her ticket to the Christian heaven, they avoided mentioning that most Christians in history have believed suicide is an eternal bar to happiness.

The gooey, sickly sweet, feel-good sentimentality of Aurelia’s enablers disgusted me.

Aurelia made a slight reference to Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” speech on her Facebook page, saying that she knew the answer.

Neither she nor her many friends and fans seemed to be aware of Hamlet’s conclusion, however, that death might not be an end to suffering but an inescapable trap: “For in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil must give us pause."

I made two attempts to save Brouwer’s life.

First, I volunteered to cover the news that the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition was asking her not to go through with her appointment with death.  

Their message was that Aurelia needed to be "cared for, not killed." They tried to offer her hope by relating stories of people who have experienced similar pain and struggles and who came through them to find that happiness is possible

Then, after discovering she was willing to engage with strangers on social media, I sent her a message saying that if she changed her mind, I would be happy to interview her on January 29, the Monday after her planned execution, or any other subsequent date.

It seemed like a long-shot, but I was hoping that she might have developed a taste for publicity even stronger than her wish to die.  

I was wrong.  

Aurelia was severely mentally ill. Much, if not all, of the guilt of her unnatural death falls upon the Netherlands’ lawmakers, the doctors who killed her, the friends who acquiesced, and the fans who egged her along. 

I hope and pray that God will have mercy on this poor soul.

What makes me particularly furious is that apparently sane people in the Netherlands now privilege the “will” over reason so much so that they will comply with the wishes of completely irrational people who want to be killed by doctors.

This is the nightmare that unfolds when the state sanctions killing as a solution to a problem. 

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Dorothy Cummings McLean

Dorothy Cummings McLean is a Canadian journalist, essayist, and novelist. She earned an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Toronto and an M.Div./S.T.B. from Toronto’s Regis College. She was a columnist for the Toronto Catholic Register for nine years and regularly contributes to Catholic World Report.  Her first book, Seraphic Singles,  was published by Novalis (2010) in Canada, Liguori in the USA, and Homo Dei in Poland. Her second, Ceremony of Innocence, was published by Ignatius Press (2013).  Dorothy lives near Edinburgh, Scotland with her husband.