Terminally Ill 14-Year-Old Decides To Stop Seeking Euthanasia [Update]

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Update: The 14-year-old Chilean girl who had made a video plea asking to be allowed to end her own life has changed her mind after receiving an outpouring of support. Valentina Maureira's request drew international attention and a visit from Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who expressed sympathy but said she could not grant the girl's wishes, since euthanasia is against Chilean law.

Maureira has cystic fibrosis, which also took the life of her younger brother. Her father, Fredy Maureira, said her decision was also influenced by meeting survivors of the illness who'd lived past their teens, according to the AP. 


This story was originally published on March 1, 2015 and updated on March 23, 2015.

A 14-year-old girl in Chile made an emotional appeal to her president for the right to die. Valentina Maureira has cystic fibrosis, an incurable genetic disease that attacks the lungs. 

In the video (below), she says in Spanish: “I urgently request to speak to the president, because I’m tired of living with this illness. I want her approval so I can get a shot that will make me sleep forever.” Maureira's brother also died of cystic fibrosis. 

Michelle Bachelet, the President of Chile, responded to the plea by coming to visit the girl in the hospital. But, Bachelet said, she cannot comply with the girl's request, since Chilean law prohibits euthanasia. President Bachelet is also a pediatrician.

The girl's father, Fredy Maureira, said he supports his daughter's decision in a heartbreaking statement to The Associated Press:

"This is so tough, but I have to respect her decision because she's the one who's suffering this illness. I already lost a 6-year-old son because I didn't have enough money and organs. Now my daughter just wants to die in a dignified way." 

At present, only three countries — the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Belgium — have legal euthanasia. Several others, Switzerland, Germany, Albania, Japan, and Colombia, allow assisted suicide. It's also legal in a handful of U.S. states including New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, Vermont, and Montana. 
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