California assisted suicide bill and World Suicide Prevention Day

By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Yesterday, California assisted suicide bill ABX2-15 narrowly passed in the California assembly, in-spite of the fact that disability rights group opposed this dangerous bill.

This occurred on the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10) with the theme of Reaching Out and Saving Lives. The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) brochure states:‘

Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives’ is the theme of the 2015 World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), an initiative of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the WHO, a co-sponsor of meetings and events related to WSPD 2015. Since 2003, WSPD has taken place on 10th September each year. It serves as a call to action to individuals and organizations to prevent suicide. This year, the theme encourages us all to consider the role that offering support may play in combating suicide.

Out of concern for people who live with suicidal ideation, the IASP brochure states:

It is hard to imagine the extreme psychological pain that leads someone to decide that suicide is the only course of action. Reaching out to someone who is struggling can make a difference. 
The act of showing care and concern to someone who may be vulnerable to suicide can be a game-changer.

Does legalizing assisted suicide show care and concern to someone who is living with psychological pain?

Recently, Dr Will Johnston wrote about a young adult patient who became suicidal after watching a video about Brittany Maynard, the California woman who moved to Oregon to die by assisted suicide.

A primary risks associated with depression is suicidal ideation. The data indicates that legalizing assisted suicide does not reduce suicide, rather it appears to have a suicide contagion effect.

In the next day, the California Senate will vote on assisted suicide bill ABX2-15. Knowing that the California Senate already passed the previous version of the assisted suicide bill, it is likely that California Governor Jerry Brown will need to veto the assisted suicide bill.