Assisted suicide activists have been criticised for seeking to use COVID-19 as a “unique opportunity” to lobby for the expansion of assisted suicide.
Kim Callinan, President of US assisted suicide campaign group Compassion & Choices, claims patients should be able to receive lethal drugs after simply speaking to a doctor via an online video call.
UK-based academics were recently criticised for arguing that legalising assisted suicide would be financially beneficial to the NHS.
Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said the assisted suicide lobby is “not concerned with protecting people”.
He warned that “a person with difficult health issues who feels like a burden on others, or is experiencing depression or existential distress, could be assessed, via telehealth, and prescribed lethal drugs for suicide”.
But he said that activists, rather than trying to help people, focus on “facilitating death and protecting doctors who are willing to be involved with killing their patients”.
In the UK, ethicist Dr David Shaw and healthcare economist Professor Alec Morton published a paper claiming it would be “irresponsible not to consider” the economic costs of denying assisted suicide.
Dr Gordon Macdonald, Chief Executive of Care Not Killing, called the report “highly disturbing”.
Dr Macdonald said: “Very quickly the argument moves from that of personal autonomy to doctors and nurses making value judgments about the quality of other people’s lives while seeking to save money and tackle so-called ‘bed blocking’ in health services.”