Tme Magazine–Legal Euthanasia: No Spur to Suicide

In the debate over physician-assisted suicide, opponents have long argued that legalizing it could lead to disproportionately high suicide rates in vulnerable patients. But a new study published in the October 2007 issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics suggests that this concern is more fear than fact: an analysis of reports of doctor-assisted deaths in Oregon and the Netherlands ”” two areas where the practice is legal ”” found that rates of assisted death were no higher than average in nine of 10 patient groups that could be at risk for coercion, such as the elderly or the poor. In fact, the one group that researchers found sought assisted suicide more frequently was younger white men ”” a generally more privileged few.

“People who tend to take advantage of this tend to be well educated when it comes to their options,” says Russell Korobkin, a professor at UCLA School of Law. In the last 13 years in Oregon, only 292 have died under the law. “Mostly what this is good for is giving people peace of mind. They feel like they have control if they need it.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Theology

9 comments on “Tme Magazine–Legal Euthanasia: No Spur to Suicide

  1. Wilfred says:

    Now we know why Democrat politicians instinctively support euthanasia. It disproportionately kills off young white men, a natural Republican constituency.

  2. Irenaeus says:

    Wilfred [#1]: Your comment sounds like something a redneck politician would say.

  3. Wilfred says:

    And when President Hillary appoints Dr Jack Kevorkian as Surgeon-General, I will call on him for his services.

  4. Irenaeus says:

    OK, a redneck politician on magic mushrooms.

  5. azusa says:

    Sterility-homosexuality-abortion-‘euthanasia’ ~ a seamless web of the culture of death.

  6. Larry Morse says:

    to ask an MD to put his hand to killing is to ask him to violate his integrity and the integrity of his ancient profession. How can one square “First, do no harm” with mercy killing?

    The result is as Gordian has said, but I would alter the focus and say that this is a culture of anti-life, which is not quite the same as a culture of death. The opposite of life is not death, it is anti-life. Death is as much a part of life as conception.
    Euthanisia is indeed death, but it is not the fact of the death but a process by which life can be circumvented. For the sufferer who can bear no more, we can only feel the profoundest sympathy.
    But legislating “the right to die” is a different matter and puts the entire medical profession in a position which compromises terribly its committment to life and to living.

    And this committment to anti-life is most clear in the case of homosexuals, whose sexual contact is by its nature a parody of love and fertility; indeed, it is the perfect embodiment of sterility.
    Taken individually, the elements Gordian cites are troublesome but not condemning. Taken together, they adumbrate a fear of living, a fear of vitality, a dread of the consequences of being, as if the life force – whatever that may be – is drying up, like a river in a long drought. So Gordian might have added the fear of commitment, that makes marriage a function of prenuptual agreements, and the falling birthrate in developed countries. Larry

  7. Terry Tee says:

    We read here, an analysis of reports of doctor-assisted deaths. Herein, I think, lies part of the doubt about this whole article. Other reports from the Netherlands – and I apologise that I have no source to hand – have indicated that many of the physician-assisted suicides there have not gone through regular channels and are not reported. Doctors simply feel empowered to decide. Moreover, note that illness need not be terminal – it can include severe depression, for example, although you would not glean that from the article.

  8. Wilfred says:

    1. Nae, Irenaeus; [i] Glenfiddich. [/i]

    2. Seriously, I think supporters of this have more complicated motives than I accused them of in Post #1. I have noticed, they start off by presenting us with sad cases, of patients that are pretty much at the end of their life anyway. Once they have approval to bump off these unfortunates, they progress to people like Terri Schiavo – a nuisance to her faithless husband & an expense for the insurance company. And then finally to people like Jack Kevorkian’s victims, 40-year-old patients who have little wrong with them except that they are overweight & depressed.

  9. Juandeveras says:

    There is the unspoken connection between euthanasia and abortion – there is a connection which is seldom discussed. Both are “doctor-assisted” deaths. Approval of one tends to encourage approval of the other.