Is Religion Why Docs Are Against Assisted Suicide/Dying?

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January 27, 2015

In This Article

More Physicians Favor Assisted Suicide

Medscape's 2014 Physician Ethics Report revealed that among the more than 21,000 respondents, 54% of physicians said that physician-assisted suicide (PAS) should be allowed, compared with only 46% who said that in 2010. Clearly, the concept is gaining ground. (Another 15% said "it depends," which is kind of a yes). And 31% said a flat-out no.

Several factors have promoted the change. PAS cases have garnered more frequent news coverage, with humane and emotional stories of individuals who chose that route—such as Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old California woman with terminal brain cancer who ended her life last November, and Ethan Remmel, who at 41 ended his life in Washington State after ingesting lethal medication supplied as part of the state's Death With Dignity Act (DWDA). Remmel, a father and associate professor, had incurable cancer that had spread to his bones, and he kept a running national blog as the disease progressed and he decided to take the lethal medication.

National coverage of sympathetic individual struggles triggers audiences to examine their own attitudes and enables people to witness a larger range of experiences on which to base their opinion.

Assisted suicide seems as though it's becoming more acceptable in general, at least in Western countries. A greater (though not huge) number of people have been traveling to Switzerland to make use of assisted dying; in 2008, 123 people went; in 2012, 172 people made that journey.[1]

Still, 31% of US physicians say flat-out no, under no situation is PAS acceptable. Among the thousands of comments written in by the survey respondents, these were the chief reasons for why doctors are for or against assisted suicide.

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