Compassion and respect

No, it isn’t true that voluntary assisted dying laws cause more suicides

This is an excellent article by Neil Francis refuting claims by Professor Margaret Somerville (remember her on Q&A?) that suicides have increased in places with voluntary assisted dying laws.  Just another fear-mongering furphy in the increasingly desperate political campaign against Bills like the Tasmanian one coming up for debate this week – 24 May.

A key element in the cynical, devious and emotionally manipulative political campaigns being run against voluntary assisted dying is the confusion of voluntary assisted dying and suicide. In yesterday’s Mercury, both Mark Brown of the Australian Christian Lobby, and Catholic Archbishop Porteous do this.

They cover-up the very major differences between
– voluntary assisted dying provided by doctors to competent adults at the end of their lives with persistent intolerable and unrelievable suffering, due to serious incurable illnesses, and who have made rational, voluntary, informed and repeated requests, and
– suicides we all regard as tragic and every effort made to prevent them, ie by individuals acting on their own, at times of temporary distress and/or the effects of mental illness, by often violent and desperate means and too often by young people cutting off what could be decades of their lives.

One of the false claims by opponents – and it was made in the debate on the SA Bill last year – is that there is evidence that voluntary assisted dying laws increase suicides. Neil Francis’s article effectively demolishes this claim.


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