A chilling article appeared earlier this week in the Sydney Morning Herald chronicling the death of a twenty-six year old man who took his own life utilizing voluntary euthanasia—despite the fact that he was not terminally ill. It was only three years after his death when his mother discovered that her son was a member of Exit International, a pro-voluntary euthanasia organization.

As the article notes, it’s difficult to know how many deaths occur from voluntary euthanasia. This is something that is not reported to most coroners or, in many cases, the deceased have been trained to make their deaths appear as if they died from natural causes.

When pressed on whether the spike in death rates among young people utilizing voluntary euthanasia should be cause for concern, pro-euthanasia advocate Dr. Philip Nitschke told the Herald that the death of these young people must be balanced against “the very large number of people who get immense comfort from knowing they have a safety net in place.”

Most advocates of euthanasia and physician assisted suicide consistently defend the practice on the grounds that it will be limited to the terminally ill in the last stages of life and will be highly regulated in order to prevent such abuses. But as we continue to see, once the principle of “do no harm” is eliminated from the medical profession, these supposed safeguards are bound to crumble.

In reflecting on her son’s death, Judith Taylor lamented “It is the worst of the worst. To find your son has died is bad enough but to find out it was by his own hand and then to find out there is an international business that promotes it, coerces it and provides all the info was worse.”

Image by frozenchipmunk via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Christopher White, Ramsey Institute Project Director