Study: legalisation euthanasia leads to more suicides


Central Europe


Photo EPA, Peter Komka

Countries that legalise euthanasia or assisted suicide see their number of "self-initiated" suicides, in other words, without the help of third parties, rise. That is remarkable because proponents of legalisation argued that these numbers would go down with legalisation.

The study "Does legalisting Assisted Suicide Make Things Better Or Worse" shows that the number of suicides without help increased alongside the number of physician-assisted suicide deaths, Christian Post reports. The researchers conducted several surveys in Europe and North America. They found that women were the most likely to commit suicide without help in countries that permit euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Proponents of euthanasia and assisted suicide often argue that legalisation of certain forms of suicide will prevent people from jumping in front of a train, for example, because they can legally request a more "civil" way of ending their life. However, the study concludes that "significantly more people took their lives, and there was no evidence of a reduction in non-assisted suicide" in countries with legal access to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

A possible explanation for this finding might be, according to the researchers, that some people may feel less secure if they have the option of legal euthanasia, "as if they have to justify their continued existence."


The study results did not surprise Wesley J. Smith, chair and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute's Centre on Human Exceptionalism, a conservative think-thank. He says to Christian Post that "assisted suicide literally advocates suicide." According to him, "a society cannot be pro-some suicides and then be surprised that some suicidal people outside the permitted categories think that includes them."

Smith says that the cultural and judicial pushing of some types of suicides signals to suicidal people that killing themselves is a proper thing to do. "Such messages may encourage these individuals to take lethal action."



Subscribe for an update, and receive a documentary and e-book for free.

Choose your subscriptions*

You may subscribe to multiple lists.