A Time to Choose: Suicide Assistance or Suicide Prevention?

monochrome photo of an old man

Physician-assisted suicide is an attack upon human dignity.

The United States has a robust public policy of suicide prevention. Yet, eleven states have carved out civil, criminal, and professional liability exemptions for homicide in the case of physician-assisted suicide. Suicide activists have pushed to deregulate the practice; Oregon now permits suicide tourism by out-of-state residents and Vermont authorizes telemedical suicide assistance. Assisted suicide threatens vulnerable patients, poses grave informed consent issues, and blatantly discriminates against the elderly and persons with illnesses and disabilities. The practice undermines suicide prevention policies and increases the rates of non-assisted suicide. Congress and the states, however, have broad powers to protect human dignity at the end of life. This report provides a legal overview and resources for policymakers to combat the spread of physician-assisted suicide.

What, for example, is the supposed difference between a doctor handing a lethal pill to a patient, placing the pill on the patient’s tongue and dropping it down the patient’s throat? Where does physician-assisted suicide end and euthanasia begin?

Americans United for Life offers a vision for choosing suicide prevention over suicide assistance: