“We have to accept death but we do not have to accept suicide”, comments Professor David Albert Jones, the author of the study, “Suicide Prevention: Does Legalising Assisted Suicide Make Things Better Or Worse?”
Professor Jones is Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, as well as Professor of Bioethics at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, and Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University. His latest research has concluded that “available evidence all points in the same direction. Legalising euthanasia or assisted suicide does more harm than good, and is a threat to suicide prevention.”
Reviewing published research on euthanasia and assisted suicide (EAS) in Europe and North America, Professor Jones systematically sorted through evidence presented in peer review journals regarding whether EAS has had a beneficial effect on suicide prevention, as the pro-EAS lobby claims.
Citing the case of Switzerland, where Dignitas is based, Professor Jones points out that since 1998, the year of its founding, “the rate of self-initiated death (non-assisted plus assisted suicide) flattens and then begins to rise. The pattern in women is even more dramatic. In women, the overall rate of self-initiated death in 2017 is almost twice what it was in 1998.”
Professor Jones’ study noted similar suicide trends elsewhere, including in the US states of Oregon and Washington, examined in a 2015 study published in the Southern Medical Journal. Significantly, a much more recent and extensive 2022 study, inspecting a larger number of states, found “quite strong evidence that total suicides increase following implementation of assisted suicide laws”.
Having reviewed all available studies, Professor Jones concluded that “the evidence is that it [EAS] does more harm than good”:
“There is robust evidence, taken from different jurisdictions and using a variety of statistical methods, that the total number of self-initiated deaths rises significantly where EAS is legally available, and strong evidence that this has a greater impact on older women. There is some evidence, less robust but by some measures statistically significant, that deaths by non-assisted suicide also increase. There is no evidence of a reduction in non-assisted suicide.”
Suicide leads to more suicide. We have already seen this in Canada, most especially, where over 10,000 people were killed by assisted suicide in 2021 alone, 3.3% of all deaths in that country that year, a massive rise since 2016 when just over a thousand people were killed during the first year of assisted suicide.
Death is fast becoming the default response to the problems of care, mental health and even poverty.
As supporters of the death industry are moving to create a similar situation in the UK, it is more important than ever that the facts about such suicide trends and the horrific ethic at their centre are brought to the fore, as Professor David Albert Jones’ timely study has done.
“Another paper by Dr Greg Pike of the Bios Centre also warned recently that, ‘A society that enshrines the value of death as a solution to suffering, and even the sorrows and distresses of life, will be one that simply cannot allow people to make their own choices.’
“Peddlers of assisted suicide and euthanasia are little more than con artists selling death by wrapping it up in falsities and feigned compassion for the vulnerable. This is a profoundly serious and urgent matter since the EAS lobby now seeks to impose its deadly ethic on the British public. We must not fall for their false claims and cynical machinations, which all civilised nations must reject in favour of genuine care and compassion, not an early grave.”