8 Dangers of Legalising Assisted Suicide

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Legal safeguards cannot protect the vulnerable from euthanasia abuses

Euthanasia laws overseas are regularly avoided by some health professionals. Legislation can never protect vulnerable people, the frail, the elderly and the disabled from pressure to terminate their ‘burdensome’ lives, or worse, from being killed without consent. A 2010 study revealed 32% of euthanasia killings in Belgium had no specific request.

 

Euthanasia and assisted-suicide are the ultimate tools for elder abuse

It’s sad but true: a shocking number of elderly New Zealanders are financially, physically and emotionally abused by their families and caregivers. Overseas, elderly or disabled people being pressured into “requesting” assisted suicide is easily hidden from view because of failure to officially report cases.

 

It sends a hypocritical message about suicide

New Zealand already has the 2nd highest youth suicide rate in the OECD. Research in the United States shows that legalising assisted suicide increases the overall suicide rate. Legalising assisted suicide for some, means legitimising it for everyone.

 

The killing always increases

The overseas evidence is clear: what starts as a “treatment” of last resort for a small minority ends up as the “therapy of choice” for many.

 

Diagnosis and prognosis can be mistaken

Most people assume that doctors can always accurately diagnose terminal illness and predict the time to death. Not so. Incorrect diagnosis and/or prognosis will inevitably lead to the killing of people who are mistakenly told they have only a short time to live.

 

An easy death is not guaranteed

Research in Holland shows that approximately 10% of killing by euthanasia and 30% of assisted suicides are complicated by unforeseen problems. Some patients experience multiple problems.

 

It compromises the hospice movement

There may be less drive to improve terminal and palliative care facilities and training if assisted suicide is seen as a more “cost-effective treatment”.

 

Trust in doctors and nurses falls

Disabled and elderly people will worry about whether their health professionals are secretly thinking they would be better off dead, rather than being giving the treatment they deserve.