By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Sympathy for the man who died by suicide, and his family, for the suffering and loss that they experienced should be paramount but Ashe is using this sad death as advocacy for assisted suicide.
Dr Gerald Ashe has inappropriately used the violent suicide death of his patient in Brockville to promote the legalization of assisted suicide. Ashe, an assisted suicide lobby activist, suggested that if assisted suicide were legal, that his patient would not have died a violent suicide death.
The facts in Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal suggest otherwise. The rate of violent suicide deaths in Oregon has increased, not decreased since assisted suicide became legal. Similar to Ashe, the suicide lobby in Oregon claimed that legalizing assisted suicide would reduce the incidence of violent suicide deaths.
Statistics indicate that the suicide rate in Oregon was decreasing during the 1990's but since 2000 the suicide rate has increased faster than the national average. In 2007 the Oregon suicide rate was 35% above the national average and in 2010 it was 41% above the national average. These statistics indicate that legalizing assisted suicide does not reduce the suicide rate but rather leads to a suicide contagion effect.