53% of people killed by assisted suicide in the U.S. state of Oregon during 2020 said that they feared “being a burden on family, friends/caregivers” if they continued to live, according to the latest report on assisted suicide published by the Oregon Health Authority.

Antonia Tully of SPUC’s Lives Worth Living campaign said: “This is a devastating statistic which shows that offering people the choice to end their lives creates unacceptable pressure for them to choose death.”

The latest data from Oregon showed that 245 people were killed by assisted suicide in the state during 2020 compared with 191 people in 2019. This is a staggering 28% rise across a period of one year.

The report details the concerns of patients who were killed by assisted suicide in Oregon during 2020. 53.1% of the deceased said that they were concerned about being a “burden on family, friends/caregivers” if they continued to live. 71.8% were concerned with “loss of dignity” if they continued to live.

Over 81% of all assisted suicide deaths took place among those over 65 years old.

Assisted suicide puts pressure on vulnerable people

In many of the world’s regions where assisted suicide is legal, many who “choose” to die report that they want to avoid becoming a burden on family and carers.

In Washington State in 2018, 51% of people who were killed by assisted suicide said that being a burden on family, friends and caregivers was a reason to end their own lives.

Similarly, over one third of Canadians who were killed by assisted suicide in 2019 claimed that they feared being a burden on family, friends and caregivers if they continued to live.

During 2020, a group of Irish doctors decried attempts to introduce assisted suicide in Ireland. The group of medics said that if assisted suicide was legal, society’s most vulnerable people could begin to feel like burdens and “come under pressure to end their lives prematurely".

SPUC’s Antonia Tully added: “Assisted suicide fails to protect the right to life of all citizens no matter how weak, vulnerable or disabled their lives may be. It is vital that we resist all attempts to legalise the abhorrent practice of assisted suicide in Britain.”


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