Research: Assisted suicide increases other suicides

Wednesday, October 31, 2012
 | 
Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)

The Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List, has released a report on research on assisted suicide. That information comes in advance of a Massachusetts vote on the issue next Tuesday.

Charlotte Lozier InstituteDr. Jacqueline Harvey of the Lozier Institute took a look at evidence-based academic literature on the subject of assisted suicide for the past 20 years, including looking at the issue in the Netherlands, but with a special focus on the few states where it is legal in the U.S. Dr. Harvey stresses that the report [PDF] is her own opinion, but she did look at outcomes and not just attitudes.

"There is the issue of suicide contagion, where suicides are pretty much like an infectious disease," Harvey explains. "It's actually been shown statistically that after assisted suicide was legalized in Oregon, the suicide rate for teenagers and illegal suicides for other people rose."

The same is true in Washington state; and although figures are only available since 2009, they do indicate that legalizing it creates what some call a "culture of death." Harvey also found it to be true that among those involved in doctor-assisted suicide there was evidence of the patients feeling it was their duty to die.

"If you look at the reasons those who chose assisted suicide gave for their choice, a lot of it was nothing to do with their freedom or their dignity," Harvey tells OneNewsNow. "It was having to do with not being a burden.

"So people are not necessarily freely choosing this route. They're doing it to benefit others."

There is not reduced spending for palliative control, but Harvey points out that in Oregon there are instances the state healthcare program has offered to pay for assisted suicide but not pain control. In addition, many suicides are attributed to depression that is treatable.

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