An 83-year-old woman in Guangzhou, southern China, was shown mercy by a Chinese court after she performed euthanasia on her severely disabled 46-year-old son in May 2017.
The woman, only identified by her surname Huang, admitted to the court that she fed her son around 60 sleeping pills before stuffing his nose with cotton pads and strangled him with a scarf on May 9.
Huang then turned herself in to the police the following day, according to Shanghaiist.
“I’m getting older and weaker and I was afraid that I might die before he did and he would have no one to take care of him. I struggled with the decision for a week before deciding to feed him sleeping pills,” the elderly mother said during her trial on Sept. 21.
Huang’s son was born prematurely, and had severe mental and physical disabilities that left him incapable of moving or talking. Unfortunately, his condition grew worse with each passing year, pushing Huang to spend all her time and energy taking care of him.
During her trial, the court asked if there was anyone who could have looked after her son, but sadly, Huang did not want to put the heavy burden on someone else.
“I was the one that gave birth to him and made him suffer,” she explained. “I would rather kill him than leave him for someone else to care for.“
“Ending his painful life is better than having him suffer any more. He is my son. I never hated or shunned him. I never thought about giving up on him before, but for the past two years my health has been getting worse.“
During the hearing, Huang’s family came to her aide and defended her actions.
“My mother’s crime is nothing like homicide. She only wanted to end his suffering. In her heart, she did not want to harm my younger brother,” Huang’s eldest son said.
In the end, the court finally decided to let her off easy for euthanizing her son and gave her a three-year suspended prison sentence.
“Rather than murder out of hatred, this was murder out of love. However, the right to life is a person’s most important right. No one can take that away, including a parent,” a judge presiding over Huang’s case said.
Whether it’s from a scientific or religious standpoint, euthanasia has always been a sensitive topic to discuss.
Euthanasia, which is often performed by people in the medical field, can be classified in two different forms: active and passive.
In active euthanasia, a medical practitioner will help the patient succumb to death by administering a lethal dose of medication into the body. The passive form withholds all necessary treatment such as medication, surgery or food and water for the patient.
Back in April 2002, the Netherlands was the first country ever to pass a bill legalizing euthanasia, but it can only be performed after several strict conditions have been met, The Guardian reported.
Images Xinhua via Shanghaiist