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Legalising Assisted Suicide Leads To Increase In Overall Suicide Numbers

Assisted Suicide
24 February 2022
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Legalising what is euphemistically called ‘assisted dying’ will endanger the lives of older people living with serious illness.
Professor David Jones Report author

New research suggests countries that legalise assisted suicide also see an overall increase in non-assisted suicide rates.

The study, Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide and Suicide Rates in Europe, was published in the Journal of Ethics in Mental Health. It looked at data on assisted suicide and euthanasia and violent suicides between 1990 and 2016 in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

The findings were then intentionally compared to countries where assisted suicide has not been legalised. The findings show that no European country which practices euthanasia or assisted suicide has seen a reduction in overall suicide rates.

Assisted Sui­cide pro­pos­als won’t save lives

Professor of Bioethics at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, David A. Jones, warned that proposals before the Scottish Parliament to legalise assisted suicide ‘would not save lives’.

The paper found that, despite claims by pro-assisted suicide campaigners to the contrary, there’s no evidence of any reduction in non-assisted suicides in the countries examined in the study – Switzerland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Instead, in the Netherlands the rates of non-assisted suicide have increased since the law was changed. Assisted suicide and euthanasia have been legal in the Netherlands for decades so it is a good case study to explore the longer term impact of law change.

Prof Jones, who is a supporter of the Better Way campaign, which campaigns for assisted living and greater investment in high quality palliative care commented:

“This is further evidence that legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia will result in more people ending their lives prematurely. It will not save lives. It will not help prevent suicide.

“We must say very clearly to all people irrespective of age, disability, or medical condition, that they should not be made to feel that they are a burden to the community. They are full members of our society and the human family. We are all enriched by their presence."
Professor David Jones Author of Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide and Suicide Rates in Europe
Author and Christian ethicist, John Wyatt and CARE's James Mildred discuss the problems with assisted suicide

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Assisted Suicide

Where assisted suicide is legal, it makes vulnerable people feel like a burden. CARE works to uphold laws that protect those people, and to assist them to live—not to commit suicide.

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