Legal Assisted Suicide Hasn't Led to Abuse

Study of Oregon, Netherlands finds fears to be unfounded
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2007 2:57 PM CDT
Though detractors warn of a "slippery slope," investigators have found no evidence to indicate that assisted suicide has been facilitated by coercion of the ill or vulnerable.   ((c) tempophage)
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(Newser) – Fears that legalizing physician-assisted suicide would lead to its use on unwilling, disabled people are unfounded, concludes a new study conducted in Oregon and the Netherlands, where the practice is legal. Researchers scoured hundreds of cases for any kind of bias, finding, “no evidence to justify the grave and important concern often expressed about the potential for abuse.”

Those choosing death were usually cancer patients, with an average age of 70. No other factor, including mental health or chronic illness, had an impact. Patients without health insurance—theoretically more of a burden to their families—were not more likely to be helped to die. The authors of the study, conducted at the University of Utah, said they found no evidence that assisted dying is a "slippery slope" to forced euthanasia.