Top Pro & Con Arguments
MAID dangerously normalizes suicide.
Suicide is “the act of intentionally taking one’s own life.” Medical aid in dying is the act of taking a fatal dose of medication to end one’s own life.
“The more a society becomes pro some suicides, the more normalized suicide will become. Indeed, unless we recognize that the proper answer to suicide ideation is suicide prevention—for everyone, not just some—the ‘right’ to commit suicide could become as fundamental as the right to life,” according to Wesley J. Smith, Chair and Senior Fellow at the Center on Human Exceptionalism.
Legalizing some suicides via medical aid in dying sends the message to those who are not terminally ill but who may be struggling with mental or physical illness, drug addiction, or other hardships that suicide is an acceptable solution available for them.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 700,000 people die from suicide every year globally.
In 2020, suicide was the twelfth leading cause of death in the United States, bumped down from the number 10 spot held in 2019 due to COVID-19 deaths and an increase in chronic liver disease and cirrhosis deaths. The overall rate of suicide increased 30% between 2000 and 2020.
Suicide was the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-34 and the fifth for people aged 35-54, making suicide “a major contributor to premature mortality,” according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
In addition to the 45,900 Americans who died by suicide in 2020, some 12.2 million other adults reported serious thoughts of suicide, 3.2 million adults made plans to die by suicide, and 1.2 million adults actually died by suicide.
Steven Wade, Executive Director of the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire, highlights as well the many “populations, including veterans, teens, people with disabilities, brain injury survivors and the elderly who are ‘pre-disposed’ to suicide for reasons including depression, lack of autonomy and inability to engage in activities that make life enjoyable.” Those populations, he argues, are especially endangered by the “dangerous precedent” of legalizing some suicides, as well as by others who could exploit MAID laws “to steer vulnerable members of our society — who are not necessarily dying — in the direction of death instead of care.”
“A taboo (not stigma) against suicide is an instrumental piece of suicide prevention,” according to psychiatrist Mark Komrad. Thus, instead of promoting any kind of suicide, governments should focus on suicide prevention, effective healthcare, and compassionate palliative care.Read More