The Corner

Suicide Advocacy and the UK Suicide Rate

Hands are properly wringing over the increase in the UK suicide rate. But I wonder whether there is at least a partial correlation between increased suicides and the growing volume of assisted suicide advocacy for the ill and disabled in the UK. Also, the general UK media applause for suicide clinics in Switzerland and the playing of such actual suicides on television, might also unintentionally serve to promote suicide in general.

It is worth noting that Oregon, with legalized assisted suicide, is also experiencing a suicide crisis, with rates approaching 40 percent higher than the national average–and that is without counting assisted suicides in the statistics. 

Now it is clear that assisted suicide advocates don’t want teenagers or failed business owners to kill themselves. (Kathryn exposed a notable exception in a famous NRO interview.) But when you argue that self-killing is a proper means of ending suffering in some cases, suffering people in other circumstances might not “get” the nuance that such advocacy is not intended to apply to them.

Like I said, I don’t know if there is any correlation between increased assisted suicide advocacy and increased suicide rates generally. But I think it is worth investigating. 

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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