Culture & Ethics Icon Culture & Ethics
Medicine Icon Medicine

Assisted Suicide Should Be Included in Suicide Statistics

assisted suicide

Assisted suicide corrupts everything it touches. That includes the seemingly uncontroversial field of vital statistics, in which suicides assisted, aka legal homicides, by doctors are not usually included in suicide statistics.

Thus, in Washington State (as just one example), doctors who assist suicides are forced to lie on the death certificate that the death was natural. This not only falsely skews the total number of suicides downward, but it also interferes with transparency — which, of course, is the point.

Here’s another illustration from Switzerland, which reported that “suicides” were not up dramatically, but that assisted suicides were. From the Swiss report (Google translation):

Suicide increases slightly, assisted suicide strongly

792 men and 279 women ended their lives in 2015, 43 more than in 2014. Assisted suicide was observed for 426 men and 539 women, an increase of 223 cases.

This is a false dichotomy. In truth, suicides were up strongly because assisted suicide was up strongly.

In truth, the numbers of suicides wasn’t 1071. It was 2036 — almost twice as high.

In truth, the numbers of suicides wasn’t up by 43, but 266.

At least Switzerland understands that assisted suicide and suicide are correlated. Too often, we are told that assisted suicide and suicide have no connection when — if we care about facts — they do.

Photo credit: With Associates, via Flickr.

Cross-posted at The Corner.

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.



assisted suicidebioethicscorrelationdeath certificatefalse dichotomyhomicidephysicianstatisticssuicideSwitzerlandWashington State