• Paper on European nations notes rise in non-assisted suicides
  • Bioethics expert urges Holyrood not to make assisted dying change

‘Assisted dying’ and euthanasia are devastating for suicide prevention, a new study published in the Journal of Ethics in Mental Health suggests.

The study, by bioethicist Professor David A. Jones, shows that in some European nations that have introduced euthanasia or assisted suicide, cases of non-assisted suicide have increased.

There is no evidence of any reduction in non-assisted suicides in the countries examined in the study – Switzerland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium.

The findings add to fears that ‘assisted dying’ and euthanasia undermine societal efforts to prevent suicide, and counter the claim of proponents that legalising the practices is necessary to reduce instances of suicide.

Prof. Jones, who is a supporter of the Better Way campaign, a group of academics, medics and disability activists that opposes moves to legalise ‘assisted dying’, said:

“This is further evidence that legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia will result in more people ending their lives prematurely. It will not save lives. It will not help prevent suicide. Legalising what is euphemistically called ‘assisted dying’ will endanger the lives of older people living with serious illness.

“We must say very clearly to all people irrespective of age, disability, or medical condition, that they should not be made to feel that they are a burden to the community. They are full members of our society and the human family. We are all enriched by their presence.

“There is a better way which is to show by our actions that the world is enriched by the presence of each person irrespective of age, disability or illness.  We should work for a society in which nobody is encouraged to bring about their own deaths, but are provided with the human, practical and financial support to live well until the end of their natural lives.

“I call on MSPs in all parties not to open the door to assisted suicide, and the many negative ramifications that accompany it.”


The full study can be accessed here: Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, and Suicide Rates in Europe

The Better Way campaign is supported by:

Dr Miro Griffiths, Leverhulme Research Fellow in Disability Studies at the University of Leeds, and policy adviser to regional, national, and supranational bodies; 

Phil Friend, Chair of Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RIDC), Vice Chair of the Activity Alliance, a Churchill Fellow and a former chair of Disability Rights UK and RADAR; 

Dr Kevin Yuill, a lecturer in History at the University of Sunderland and author of Assisted Suicide: The Liberal, Humanist Case Against Legalisation; 

Dr Ashley Frawley, senior lecturer in sociology and social policy at Swansea University in Wales; 

David Albert Jones MA (Cantab), MA, MSt, DPhil (Oxon), Professor of Bioethics at St Mary’s University, a Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford, and Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre; 

Joel Zivot MD, FRCP(C) MA, practicing anesthesiologist, intensive care doctor and expert witness.