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.