Hilary White

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Film depicting euthanasia of 26-year-old Dutch woman draws 700,000 viewers

Hilary White
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AMSTERDAM, June 25, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A documentary on the “chosen death” of a young woman who was suffering from a degenerative disease has drawn a mass audience in the Netherlands.

Priscilla Brouwer, described in the film as a “disco queen,” was a 25-year-old woman with a hereditary illness who decided to end her life on her 26th birthday. “I would like to get away from life happily. I prefer to leave it at age 26 rather than at 30 after years of suffering,” she said. 

Brouwer was diagnosed at 16 with an unnamed disease. Her mother also suffered from and eventually died of the illness. The film notes that she was not in the terminal phase of the disease when she was euthanized. 

Entitled “Moth,” the film aired on Dutch state television last night and drew an estimated 700,000 viewers. 

The film follows Brouwer’s last days before being euthanized with the approval of her doctor. Priscilla and her best friends are shown going to the family doctor to ask for euthanasia. It shows her walking on the beach hand in hand with a friend, and putting on make-up with her sister Steffie before a farewell party at a nightclub. It shows her drinking, singing and dancing on the night before she died.

Brouwer’s idea, the film said, was to get as much pleasure as possible out of her last moments: “Tomorrow, cry; now, drink and celebrate.” 

At the end, Priscilla dies by a lethal injection of barbiturates in a hospice, surrounded by friends and family. The film does not show the actual injection, but afterwards shows her lying dead on the hospice bed as her friends and relatives kiss her and leave. The final scenes are of her funeral where attendees are shown dancing to nightclub music. 

The Dutch Association for Voluntary End of Life said the documentary would become a teaching tool. “Young people need to become more conscious of the possibility of euthanasia,” they said.

The film’s director, Peter Bosch, said, “Opponents say: she was young, she could still walk and party, that it goes against God. The irony is that there is also the divine behind this.” 

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An editorial on the French language news site Riposte Catholique, responded: “But just where was God in the life of Priscilla? How do we not understand that her death is first an indictment against a society that has reduced all to material enjoyment, and become unable to collectively comprehend something else?”

The Dutch euthanasia law, “Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act” 2002, states that euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are not punishable if the attending physician acts “in accordance with criteria of due care.” It allows children 12 and over to request euthanasia independently of their parents. Although it is technically illegal to euthanize children under 12, doctors can have their infant euthanized by following the so-called Groningen Protocol that allows it with parental consent if the baby is experiencing “unbearable suffering.” 

The film can be viewed here.

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