The Economist has made available for download their article, “The Welcome Spread of Assisted Dying”, published in the November 13, 2021 edition. The abstract is as follows:
In 1995 australia’s Northern Territory enacted the world’s first law explicitly allowing assisted dying. It said that terminally ill, mentally competent adults who wanted to die could ask a doctor for help, using lethal drugs. The law sparked outrage. Within months the federal government had overturned it. Yet today five of Australia’s six states have assisted-dying laws.
The Economist first made the case for assisted dying in 2015. We argued that freedom should include the right to choose the manner and timing of one’s own death, while also cautioning that the practice should be carefully monitored and regulated to avoid abuses. Since then, it has become more widely available. Assisted dying is now legal in one form or another in a dozen countries, and the trend seems likely to continue. Last week New Zealand enacted a euthanasia law for the terminally ill after 65% of voters backed it in a referendum. The same week Portugal’s parliament passed a broader law. Assisted dying is still illegal in Britain, but the House of Lords is debating a bill to allow it.
The number of people who die this way is increasing, though still small. In the Netherlands it rose from roughly 1,800 in 2003 to nearly 7,000 in 2020, or 4% of all deaths. As more countries liberalise, the global total will rise further.
Posted by Marin Larkin, Associate Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal.