A New York Times column called for increased access to assisted suicide, representing another voice of support for the practice, which is becoming increasingly popular in Canada and Europe.
The column, entitled “Medical Assistance in Dying Should Not Exclude Mental Illness” was written by a Canadian writer, Clancy Martin. Ottawa allows for physician-assisted suicide, unlike most of the United States.
Canada passed its euthanasia law in 2016, which legalized medical assistance in dying (MAID).
The law included a provision to allow for those with “severe, incurable mental illness” to undergo the procedure, but the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushed back its starting date until 2024.
The author wrote that he is “opposed to euthanasia on psychiatric grounds,” but that “because of my intimacy with suicide” it should be legal.
The author cited patients with severe depressive disorder and called for an extension of such MAID programs to allow for people with such mental illnesses to commit suicide with the assent of two doctors. Martin started the essay by describing several suicide attempts.
He wrote that such suicide may be a better option for those suffering from “acute mental suffering.”
Canada's government assisted suicide took the lives of 10,000 citizens in 2021https://t.co/qKvyJSaRrU
— Jack Poso 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) April 30, 2023
The opinion piece represents another effort to support euthanasia. While the debate in the United States has been mostly against the practice, it has grown considerably in other countries.
The practice is now legal in nine states and Washington D.C. Perhaps the most notable of the states that legalized euthanasia is Oregon, which is currently considering extending euthanasia access for non-state residents. Oregon’s electorate approved the Death with Dignity Act in 1997.
A small number of nations have passed such voluntary euthanasia laws, including Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands. The practice is also legal across most of Australia.
In 2021, a pro-euthanasia group unveiled a potential ‘suicide pod’ in Switzerland that could be used by patients to end their lives through a reduction in oxygen levels. Whether the pod would become legal for use is still being debated.
The group said that the use of such an instrument would be “very comfortable” and could be used “in an idyllic outdoor setting or in the premises of an assisted suicide organization.”