Tuesday, August 24, 2021

CCHR condemns Euthanasia of Mental Health Patients

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights sent a media release today urging that assisted suicide for psychiatric patients be rejected in the US and other countries. The watchdog group pointed out that assisted suicide has now been legalized in several US states, the CCHR warned that extending assisted suicide to mental patients is dangerous. The CCHR stated that:
While the U.S. limits this to terminally ill individuals, ... it’s a quick jump from this to killing patients who do not have terminal illnesses but are suffering emotional, not physical disabilities after failed psychiatric treatments.
The CCHR pointed to Canada that legalized euthanasia in 2016 and has already extended euthanasia to include people with mental illness.
CCHR points to Canada where legalized euthanasia was enacted in 2016. This year, a senator, who is also a psychiatrist, declared that excluding individuals with psychiatric disorders from being euthanized was “discriminatory.” The law now allows mental health patients to be euthanized, which goes into effect in two years.
The CCHR then commented on euthanasia for psychiatric reasons in the Benelux countries:
Since 2002, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg laws have allowed psychiatric patients who are suicidal to voluntarily receive death by lethal injection (euthanasia) or a self-administered prescription for lethal medication (assisted suicide). Between 100 and 200 psychiatric patients are euthanized annually between Belgium and the Netherlands,

According to Professor Willem Lemmens of the University of Antwerp, requests for euthanasia in psychiatry became more and more acceptable and common in Belgium, but allowing euthanasia to become an option for often-suicidal patients is a “profound” change in the culture.
Jan Eastgate, president of CCHR International said: 
“Were Europe and Canada’s trend to be adopted here (US), after forced psychiatric hospitalization and treatment fail, the desperate state patients are left in means suicidal behavior would no longer constitute a danger, but would be grounds for psychiatrists to euthanize them—a shift from ‘suicide prevention’ to ‘suicide assistance.’”
The media release then comments on the problems with many anti-depresant drugs. The media release concludes by stating:
CCHR is monitoring the advent of all psychiatric-assisted suicide laws and condemns the practice, saying psychiatrists should never been given such power and the failure of their treatments, with rising suicide rates, should be investigated. Since 1969, the group has helped achieve more than 190 laws worldwide to protect patients.
Link to the full CCHR report (Link).

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