SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, September 27, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - One of the many arguments against euthanasia, widely held by activists and medical professionals alike, is the fear that legalized physician-assisted suicide will result in a "slippery slope effect" resulting in the coerced suicide of vulnerable individuals. A new study which will be published in the October issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics is purporting to have put that objection to rest by proving that, in areas where euthanasia has been legalized, there has been no such "slippery slope" effect.
The research was lead by University of Utah professor, Margaret Battin known as an expert in the 'ethics' of suicide and a prominent supporter of physician-assisted suicide. Battin's curriculum vitae is a laundry list of works pertaining to the legalization and 'morals' of euthanasia.
According to the research team, the purpose of the study was to determine if there was a significant increase in the death of any particularly vulnerable demographic such as the elderly, minorities, children or those who suffer from a chronic illness following the advent of legalized euthanasia in both Oregon and the Netherlands.
"Would these patients be pressured, manipulated or forced to request or accept physician-assisted dying by overburdened family members, callous physicians, or institutions or insurers concerned about their own profits."
The study results prompted Battin to explain, "Fears about the impact on vulnerable people have dominated debate about physician-assisted suicide. We find no evidence to support those fears where this practice already is legal."
According to the research report, "Those who received physician-assisted dying
appeared to enjoy comparative social, economic, educational, professional and other privileges."
The only specific group that did appear to have a higher rate of death in areas of legalized euthanasia were those individuals with AIDS although the researchers said that they were not surprised to find that AIDS victims were more likely to seek physician assisted death since previous studies had earlier indicated similar results.
Euthanasia opponents are, at best, skeptical of Ms. Battin's research results. Alex Schadenburg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition was very critical of the research methods referring to it as "propaganda" and asserting that "[t]he way in which the study was completed would leave one to question whether [Ms. Battin's] research was done simply to prove her hypothesis."
Schadenberg emphasized that Battin's use of reported records from the Oregon Department of Human Services could not be considered valid research results for a study of this nature.
"These reports are compiled from the information from reports sent in from physicians who prescribed the assisted suicide concoction. It is unlikely that a person prescribing assisted suicide would self-report information that may be considered outside of the law
Since the annual reports from the Oregon Department of Human Services are only based on self-reports from assisted suicide prescribing physicians, therefore they cannot be considered an accurate source for determining the level of a slippery slope in Oregon."
Schadenberg challenged Battin's results in both Oregon and the Netherlands saying that, in order to ascertain valid information for both locales, she would have had to interview all those individuals involved in an assisted suicide situation, including friends and family.
According to Schadenberg, "The reality is that a significant level of social bias exists within our culture that views certain types of disability and physical conditions as connected to intolerable suffering. Many people have accepted this social bias as normal and thus when they experience certain diseases or types of disabilities they consider their lives as not worth living. Within a structure of social bias, it is impossible to determine the slippery slope without analyzing the personal and relation attitudes that lead to a decision of assisted suicide."
As previously reported by LifeSiteNews.com, a group of doctors and lawyers published a statement warning that the Netherlands experience showed "euthanasia, once legalized, cannot be effectively controlled."
"Euthanasia, initially intended for certain groups such as patients with terminal diseases will soon be performed on other groups of patients including the elderly, incapacitated patients, patients suffering with emotional distress, the disabled, and even children and newborn babies with disabilities who cannot ask for euthanasia."
Everyday reality has proved this statement to be scarily true as doctors at Holland's Groningen Academic Hospital publicly admitted to killing sick newborns beginning as early as the year 2000.
Similarly, two nurses in Oregon received only a slap on the wrist after they effectively killed a cancer patient in their care. The hospital involved did not report the incident to police and took longer than a year to investigate the crime. Prior to the publication of the investigation, the patient's family had not previously known that the patient had been euthanized and will always have to question whether the nurses had acted on their own initiative in killing their relative.
Read Related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Dutch Doctors Admit to Euthanizing Babieshttp://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2004/nov/04113005.html
Netherlands Set to Give Go-Ahead to Child Euthanasiahttp://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/sep/05093006.html
Nurses Investigated In Oregon Assisted Suicide Case - Killed Patient Without a Physicianhttp://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/jul/07070908.html
Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide - A Joint Statementhttp://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/oct/05102603.html
The culture of death will NEVER admit to problems with their ghoulish agenda.