Deaths follow 2016 legalization of physician-assisted euthanasia
More than 1% of all deaths in Canada last year were due to physician-assisted suicide, according to a government report released this month.
According to the report, from January to November of 2018, 2,613 people received “medical aid in dying,” amounting to 1.12% of all deaths.
Since the Canadian parliament legalized physician-assisted suicide in June of 2016, more than 6,700 have died as a result. The legislation came about after the Canadian Supreme Court in 2015 ruled that adults afflicted with “grievous and irremediable” medical conditions whose deaths were “reasonably forseeable” should have the right to be euthanized.
The majority of those who died in this way were the elderly, with 72 as the average age. Sixty-four percent of those who sought and received a lethal dose from their physician had cancer. Circulatory and respiratory system issues were the second most common affliction, making up 16 percent of assisted-suicide cases. Those who suffered from neurodegenerative diseases made up 11% of the deaths.
Catholic News Agency notes that if a similar ratio of deaths were recorded in the United States, where assisted suicide is legal in eight states, “approximately 30,000 people–the equivalent capacity of Harvard University’s football stadium–would die each year at the hands of doctor or nurse administered dosages.”