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Under Proposed Law, at Least a Thousand Californians Would Commit Legal Assisted Suicide Each Year

Wesley J. Smith

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The bogus Oregon death with dignity assisted suicide statistics are out, and the numbers are up again. According to the report — based on physician self-reporting — in 2014, 105 people overdosed themselves with drugs obtained via a doctor’s prescription (usually facilitated in some way by the suicide pushers at Compassion and Choices.)

Meanwhile, in California an assisted suicide bill has been filed — looser than Oregon’s. And that got me to thinking: Suicide pushers claim that their agenda is no big deal because the numbers who kill themselves in Oregon are relatively small.

But Oregon’s population is only about 10 percent of California’s (37.7 million versus 3.8 million). If California’s assisted suicide numbers were the same as Oregon’s, more than 1000 people would commit assisted suicide each year.  That’s roughly 85 a month, or nearly 3 every day. That number would steadily rise as people became desensitized to doctor-prescribed death.

Currently, about 3300 Californians commit suicide each year. Add the assisted suicides, and there would be a one-third increase, to about 4300 per year (although the legislation would require doctors to lie on death certificates by stating that the demises were caused by underlying disease rather than overdose).

If the same number of Californians died of assisted suicide as do through euthanasia in the Netherlands — about 3 percent of deaths, a too low figure as many go unreported — the number of Californians dead by prescribed overdose would be 6,900 each year.

If California ever went full-tilt Netherlands where doctors actually intentionally kill about 14 percent of those who die each year — when intentional terminal sedation is included — more than 32,000 would die at the hands of doctors each year. 

So, we are not talking about a few people committing assisted suicide here and there. The suicide agenda is moving to places where, if it succeeds, the body bags will really begin to pile up.

Image by TheDailyNathan [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Cross-posted at Human Exceptionalism.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.

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