Thursday, April 7, 2016

Nanos poll: Doctors should be able to opt-out of assisted dying - majority oppose assisted dying for minors and for psychiatric reasons.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


In the past few weeks, three professionals polls have been done on Canadian views on euthanasia and assisted suicide, referred to as "assisted dying."

The recent Nanos poll of 1000 Canadians that was done March 31 - April 4, 2016 was commissioned by the Globe and Mail. The Nanos media release stated that the poll found:
Canadians believe doctors should be able to opt-out of offering assisted dying - majority oppose or somewhat oppose assisted dying for minors 
• The majority of Canadians think that doctors should be able to opt-out of providing access to assisted dying against the will of their patients. Most Canadians do not think people under the age of 16 and 17 years should be able to access assisted dying and a marginal majority think that those with mental illness or psychiatric conditions should have access.

• Ability of doctors to opt-out - Three-fourths (75%) of Canadians believe doctors should be able to opt-out of offering assisted dying against the will of their patients (50% agree; 25% somewhat agree). Twenty-one percent say they would disagree or somewhat disagree with the same thing (11% disagree; 10% somewhat disagree). Four percent of Canadians are unsure.

• Assisted dying and minors - Six in ten Canadians (60%) say that they would disagree or somewhat disagree (16% somewhat disagree; 43% disagree), that minors who are 16 and 17 years of age should be able to access assisted dying, while thirty-seven percent of Canadians either agree (13%) or somewhat agree (24%). Five percent are unsure.

• Assisted dying and mental illness - Half of Canadians (52%) would either somewhat disagree (18%) with letting people with mental illness or psychiatric conditions access assisted dying, or disagree (34%). Just over two fifths (42%) of Canadians think that people who are suffering from with mental illness or psychiatric conditions should be able to access assisted dying (22% agree; 20% somewhat agree), while six percent of Canadians are unsure. 
The full survey results can be found by visiting our website.
An Angus Reid Institute survey of 1517 Canadians done March 21 - 24, 2016 found that:
• 68% of Canadians opposed forcing religiously affiliated hospitals to participate in euthanasia, 
• 62% supported religiously affiliated nursing homes from having to participate in euthanasia. 
• 36% supported forcing medical professionals who oppose euthanasia to refer their patients to a doctor who will kill their patient. 
• 88% supported a waiting period, similar to the Oregon law.
Both polls are done by recognized professional political pollsters and both polls indicate that Canadians want clear restrictions, controls and guidelines on "assisted death" (euthanasia and assisted suicide).

The LifeCanada poll was done by Public Square of 950 people done March 7- 14, 2016 found that 50% of Canadians wanted strict limits on euthanasia and only 16% would allow euthanasia for psychiatric reasons.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition recognizes that laws permitting a doctor to kill a patient by "assisted death" will be misused. Assisted deaths will occur without request, without being reported and outside of the rules of the law, which is occurring in Belgium. Euthanasia and assisted suicide is not in the interest of patient safety.

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