As of last week, physician-assisted suicide is legal in the state of New Jersey, making it the ninth U.S. jurisdiction to allow the practice. Lawmakers responsible for permitting the policy claim that it will promote “humanity, dignity, and respect”—but, writes Monica Burke, the truth might be wholly otherwise.
Who qualifies for physician-assisted suicide has no natural limit. New Jersey is limiting practice to the terminally ill with a six-month prognosis—for now. . . .
Other countries have already started down the slippery slope of expanding who qualifies for physician-assisted suicide. Many also practice nonvoluntary euthanasia—another seemingly natural consequence of the logic of physician-assisted suicide.
Canada’s parliament is considering expanding physician-assisted suicide to include requests by mature minors, advance requests, and requests where mental illness is the sole underlying medical condition.
In response, a Canadian children’s hospital unveiled a plan to help sick children commit suicide without their parents’ consent—a practice that is already legal in Belgium, where doctors have euthanized children as young as nine.