Voluntary assisted dying and suicide prevention

What impact does legalisation of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide have on a country’s suicide rate? This question was explored at the symposium Voluntary Assisted Dying and Suicide Prevention through a presentation by Professor David Albert Jones, Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre in Oxford and Professor of Bioethics at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, with a response from Professor David Kissane, from the University of Notre Dame Australia. The event was moderated by Associate Professor Megan Best (The University of Notre Dame Australia).

The symposium was hosted by the Bioethics and Healthcare Ethics program of the Institute for Ethics & Society as part of a research initiative addressing ethics at the end of life. The timeliness of this event was reflected in the attendance, the symposium drawing 175 registrations comprising an international audience.

“The full impact on a society when euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are legalised is only gradually becoming clear”, said A/Prof Best. “We need to understand the risks that such laws hold for vulnerable members of our community, and Notre Dame Australia is well placed to facilitate this.”

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