Reported Suicides


Reported suicides : Lauren Hoeve and Thomas Misrachi

On Saturday 27th January 2024, the media reported two suicides, which occurred under very different circumstances.

The first concerned a young 28-year-old Dutch woman, suffering from autism. Lauren Hoeve had for years been calling for euthanasia due to a syndrome of chronic fatigue causing her great suffering. In a final message posted on X (previously Twitter), the young woman wrote: “I am being euthanised”, the message included a picture showing a young child wearing sunglasses giving a thumbs up next to a doctor.

The euthanasia suicide, completed in the presence of her parents and her best friend, had been announced a few days beforehand, to her 7,800 followers on X: “My last day will be Saturday 27th January. My euthanasia will take place between 13:30 and 14:30.”

The second report was by a French journalist on TF1. Thomas Misrachi was invited on the same 27th January on France 5 for the release of his book “Le dernier soir” (The last evening), published by Grasset, which describes the end of life of Jacqueline Jencquel.

The activist for assisted suicide ended her days in March 2022, at 78 years of age, whilst she seemed to be in good health. Thomas Misrachi, who also belonged to ADMD (Association for the Right to Die with Dignity), not only admits having “held her hand” whilst she took the lethal substance, but again shared his decision to “program” his own death at the age of 75 (he is currently 53), whilst readily admitting that it will be difficult to explain to his daughter, who is currently a child.

Although very different, these two cases caused quite a stir in the media: The first because Lauren Hoeve, who had many followers in social media, was in no way at her end of life, nor suffering from any fatal disease; the second because Thomas Misrachi claims the right for assisted suicide without any health criteria, in the name of absolute autonomy and an aversion to old age.

The suicide of the young woman was conducted quite legally in Holland, whereas Thomas Misrachi asserts and seems to accept the risk of being sentenced for “non-assistance to a person in danger” and for “the encouragement of suicide”. It would appear – if his witness statement is true – that the very last post by Jacqueline Jencquel who claimed to die alone, is untrue. But it has also been confirmed that her suicide was also associated with financial difficulties.

Living in a superb apartment in the 7th district in the capital, she had problems to pay the rent after spending a lot of her savings, whilst thinking of ending her days sooner.

Whilst in France the possibility is being considered to make assisted suicide available to those suffering from a condition where their life expectancy is threatened in the medium term, these two cases show that such a breach would not prevent claims for assisted suicide and euthanasia for those suffering from no fatal condition, or even no pathology at all.

But especially, one can only be astounded by the social upheaval of such an anticipated suicide announcement by a person in good health, on the sole criterion of age. How can one reconcile this type of claim with the policy of suicide prevention?

The public authorities are justifiably alarmed at the high suicide rate in France for the over 75s. Sociologists have described the Werther effect, the contagion of suicides for those whose background is comparable to those who have ended their days. The implicit and unconscious message broadcast by this young fifty-year-old to the aged, after severely stigmatising their state of dependence, is as follows: Make a success of your exit before reaching vile dependence! In other words: you are no longer welcome among us, the healthy population.

What about fraternity?


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