Noted: report on effect of assisted suicide laws on overall suicide rate

Alex Schadenberg speaking in Nashua, NH, September 2015. Photo by Ellen Kolb.
Alex Schadenberg speaking in Nashua, NH, September 2015. Photo by Ellen Kolb.

Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is drawing attention to a recent study on overall suicide rates in states where physician-assisted suicide (PAS) is legal. The conclusion of a team of researchers: a state’s legalization of assisted suicide is associated with a 6.3% increase in total suicides in that area. The study looked at suicide rates between in Oregon, Washington State, Vermont and Montana, where physician-assisted suicide is legal.

Bear in mind that official statistics on euthanasia are squirrelly things at best, usually relying on self-reporting by prescribing physicians (sound familiar?). Researchers and statisticians looking at PAS are stuck with that limitation.

Read Schadenberg’s post and the abstract of the Southern Medical Journal’s study.

Schadenberg refers in his post to a decision earlier this year by the Supreme Court of Canada regarding euthanasia. The Carter decision is as sweeping regarding euthanasia as Roe v. Wade is regarding abortion. The legalization of assisted suicide in Canada will go into effect in 2016, barring further legal action.

Related news, provided by EPC: “A California group called Seniors Against Suicide, who opposed the California assisted suicide bill that was signed into law by Governor Brown on October 5, filed papers with the California Attorney General’s office to put the issue of assisted suicide on the State ballot in 2016, as reported by the Associated Press.”

Also by Alex Schadenberg:


Author: Ellen Kolb

New Hampshire-based writer, activist, hiker.