A report compares suicide rates in countries where euthanasia is legal, with those where it is not. “Legalizing euthanasia will not help prevent suicide”, it says.
The Journal of Ethics in Mental Health has published a peer-reviewed article called “Euthanasia, assisted suicide, and suicide rates in Europe”, which assesses the relationship between euthanasia or assisted suicide (EAS) and other types of suicide in several European countries.
The article compared Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland with neighbouring states where EAS remains illegal.
According to the report, “in none of the four jurisdictions did non-assisted suicide rates decrease after introduction of EAS relative to the non-EAS neighbour. There is no indication of prevention of non-assisted suicide at a population level”.
On the contrary, ”in all of the four jurisdictions there have been very steep rises in suicide after the introduction of EAS.
“If one considers the community as a whole, it is not the prohibition of EAS but the introduction of EAS that is associated with evidence of premature death” , adds the report.
Furthermore, the article points out that “the data indicate that it is women who have most been placed at risk of avoidable premature death from changes in rates of intentional self-initiated death and from changes in rates of non-assisted suicide”.
It explains that “a striking example of this is Switzerland, where only assisted suicide is legal and the suicide rate of women has roughly doubled since 1998. Many more people have died prematurely after these changes” .
Lead author of the study and director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre in Oxford, England, David Albert Jones, said that “all this is further evidence that legalizing assisted suicide or euthanasia will result in more people ending their lives prematurely. It will not save lives. It will not help prevent suicide”.
The number of European countries that have recently legalised euthanasia has risen to five with Spain and Austria, while in Portugal, the veto of the country’s President blocked a law that had already been approved by the Parliament, and the Italian Constitutional Court blocked the petition of an euthanasia referendum.
You can read the full report here.
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