Critics have expressed their serious concern after assisted suicide was legalised in the US state of Colorado.
The “Colorado End of Life Options Act” was passed by 65 per cent to 35 per cent in a public vote, allowing citizens over the age of 18 access to lethal drugs.
It follows in the footsteps of Washington, Oregon, California, and Vermont.
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said: “People have been inundated with the message that this is about freedom, that this is about my autonomy, that there will be safeguards in place, when the fact is when you look at the reality, none of that is true.”
Schadenberg added: “If you have a medical condition you don’t have to speak to a specialist, you don’t have to, in any way, receive an opportunity to get the information that might change your mind” about assisted suicide.
Under the Colorado law, the person making the request must be deemed to be in the final stages of a terminal illness by two doctors before they are allowed to self-administer lethal drugs.
Mark Edlund, executive director of the Colorado Baptist Convention, said: “Sadly our state receives national recognition for the legalization of marijuana, same-sex marriage, and legalization of abortion. Now we add to that physician-assisted suicide.”
Assisted suicide has been legal for terminally ill patients in Oregon since 1997.
Since the law was passed, 991 people have had medical assistance to commit suicide.
According to the Oregon Public Health Division, there has been an average rise of 12 per cent each year in the number of prescriptions written for lethal drugs.
In 2015, 132 people died by assisted suicide – up from 105 the previous year.