How Belgium went down the slippery slope of assisted suicide

Aviv found people who underwent assisted suicide for reasons even more banal than the ones listed above. Sometimes these people were not even clinically sick. Very rarely is suicide committed by someone in jeopardy of losing all reason in the face of actual physical pain. It is more often a person who despairs of losing his or her autonomy, of being out of control of events.

And chillingly, doctors pressure patients into making the decision. One doctor, who performs euthanasia eight to 10 times a year, told Aviv, “Depending on communication techniques, I might lead a patient one way or the other.”

How could it be otherwise? The idea that suicide, alone among medical treatments, would solely be the patient’s decision, absent any social or financial pressure from a doctor, was always a fiction. Doctors are in the business of advising and steering patients toward recommended treatments. That’s precisely why suicide should not be a treatment, and certainly not one offered to people who aren’t ill.