The National Center for Health Statistics recently announced that suicide rates in the United States are at a thirty-year high, up 24 percent since 1994, making it now the tenth leading cause of death in the country. Experts were quick to identify the spike as a public health crisis, and efforts launched to curtail it are both noble and necessary.
Alas, there’s a glaring contradiction in the fact they come at a time when the country is simultaneously embarking on a nationwide campaign to legalize physician-assisted suicide.
In 2015, almost thirty states considered various forms of legislation that would legalize the practice of doctor-assisted suicide, and a similar total is expected by the end of 2016.
While the majority of these efforts have failed, in October 2015 California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill to sanction the practice in his state and, when it takes effect in June, it will place a quarter of the U.S. population in areas where the practice is legal.
It’s long been observed that the law serves as a powerful teacher. By allowing physician-assisted suicide in our legal code, we send a message that suicide is permissible, even desirable. It’s disingenuous for society to claim that suicide is a tragedy and rising rates are alarming, while at the same time carving out an exception in certain situations.
This article continues at [Cruxnow] Are Americans flirting with hypocrisy on suicide?