Tom Blackwell’s article reporting that 67% of Canadians poll in favor of assisted suicide is déjà vu all over again for readers in the U.S. The superficial and often misleading poll questions on this topic produced similar statistics in a number of U.S. states over the years.
One superficial assumption is that there’s no meaningful distinction between suicide and assisted suicide, but most people know that it could “tip the scales” if your doctor and family members agreed that it was time for you to go.
Another factor is that the phrase “physician assisted suicide” implies that a trust-worthy doctor is the only “assistant”, but the language of assisted suicide laws actually immunizes all potential suicide assistants from any type of liability, not just doctors.
And, finally, there’s a vague sense of comfort that “safeguards” can ensure that the process is voluntary. But even if the relatively flimsy protections leading up to the lethal prescription are assumed to be ironclad, once the lethal drugs are in one’s home, the law does nothing to ensure that they are taken voluntarily.
All in all, a closer look at this complex issue raises so many doubts that only two of our fifty states have legalized the practice by ballot referendum, and no bill has made it through the scrutiny of a state legislature, even after 100 attempts.
Diane Coleman, JD, President/CEO
Not Dead Yet