Thursday, August 21, 2014

We do not live in a utopia. Assisted suicide is not safe.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Alex Schadenberg
In his article: Zero progress in Ottawa on assisted dying, published on August 12 in the National Post, Brett Belchetz offers his opinion on assisted suicide followed up by false “facts.”

In his support for assisted suicide Belchetz falsely states, concerning Oregon’s assisted suicide law: “In the 17 years this law has been in place, there have been zero documented cases of abuse, zero calls to extend the law, and no rise in the rate of suicides. It is clear that a well-designed piece of assisted suicide legislation, with appropriate patient protections, poses little danger to patients or to society.

First: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report indicates that the suicide rate increased by 49% in Oregon (1999 – 2013) compared to a 28% increase nationally. It appears that there has been an increase in the suicide rate in Oregon.

Second: The Oregon assisted suicide reporting system requires the doctor who prescribes the lethal dose to fill-out the assisted suicide report. Since doctors do not self-report abuse, the official Oregon statistics are not the place to find abuse of the law.

Some doctors have written about depressed patients who died by assisted suicide and other unreported problems with the Oregon assisted suicide law have been uncovered through personal testimonies.

Third: The Oregon law has been extended in practice. The annual Oregon report indicates that the number of assisted suicide deaths related to “other” conditions has increased. Those conditions now include diabetes.

This article represents a small sample of the problems with the Oregon assisted suicide law.

We do not live in a utopia. Legalizing assisted suicide is not safe. 

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Winston said...

Terminal sedation isn't safe, either. It cannot be administered with patient consent.

And yet that practice is perfectly legal.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Sedation in and of itself, is not wrong, but the abuse of sedation is wrong.