February 20, 2014

Demographic breakdown of those who choose assisted suicide

Women, divorcees and atheists are most likely to choose assisted suicide - with nearly 20% saying they are simply 'weary of life'

Women, highly educated, divorced and rich people are more likely to die from assisted suicide, new research has revealed.  Researchers in Switzerland, where assisted suicide is legal, found that of people helped by right-to-die organisations such as Dignitas, around 16 per cent of death certificates did not register an underlying cause. They say this indicates that an increasing number of people may simply becoming 'weary of life'.

The research, published online in the International Journal of Epidemiology – that shows assisted suicide is more common in women, the divorced, those living alone, the more educated, those with no religious affiliation, and those from wealthier areas.

A previous study of suicides by two right-to-die organizations showed that 25 per cent of those assisted had no fatal illness, instead citing 'weariness of life' as a factor.
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• For all causes, except Parkinson's disease, the percentage of assisted suicides was higher in women than men.
• In the 65-94 years age group, cancer was again the most common underlying cause (41 per cent), followed by circulatory (15 per cent) and diseases of the nervous system (11 per cent).
•Thirty people had a mood disorder, and six had another mental or behavioral disorder.
•The rate was also higher in urban compared to rural areas, in wealthier neighborhoods, and in the French rather than German or Italian speaking areas of the country.
•Younger people who had children were less likely to opt for assisted suicide in younger people, but not older people.
• Religion was another key factor.  People of no faith were six times more likely to choose assisted suicide than Roman Catholics, The Times reported.

Here's a good example from today's news.  A healthy Italian woman paid a Swiss right-to-die clinic to take her life because she was 'unhappy about losing her looks'.

Oriella Cazzanello, 85, travelled to a clinic in Basel, Switzerland, where she paid €10,000 for an assisted suicide.  The elderly woman, who was in good mental and physical health, disappeared from her home in Arzignano, near Vicenza in northern Italy, without telling her relatives where she was going.

'Weariness of life' is a euphemism for despair which is the complete absence of hope.  Hope is precisely what faith offers.

Posted by Jill Fallon at February 20, 2014 6:24 PM | Permalink