A new survey by LifeWay Research found that a majority of Americans believe medically assisted suicide is morally acceptable.
About two-thirds of the people surveyed said that it was morally acceptable for terminally ill patients to seek medical help for swift death, and about the same number of people think doctors must be permitted to aid people to choose death.
“If they are facing a slow, painful death, Americans want options,” said Scott McConnell. “Many believe that asking for help in dying is a moral option. They don’t believe that suffering until they die of natural causes is the only way out.”
About 69 percent of Americans say doctors need to be permitted to give medications to bring terminally ill patients to end their lives. Some 31 percent think otherwise.
As many as 88 percent of religious nones, 78 percent of those who attend church infrequently, 77 percent of graduation-degree holders, 73 percent of white Americans, 70 percent of Catholics, 64 percent of high school diploma holders, 53 percent of African-American, 53 percent of Protestants, and 52 percent of those people who attend church at least once a month were in support of removing restrictions on medically-assisted suicide.
Some 68 percent of evangelicals also thought that terminally ill patients must be allowed to seek assisted death.
“Traditional Christian teaching says God holds the keys to life and death,” says McConnell. “Those who go to church or hold more traditional beliefs are less likely to see assisted suicide as morally acceptable. Still a surprising number do.”
Similar studies have released similar statistics on Americans’ position on physician assisted deaths. In 2015, a Gallup survey revealed that a majority of 68 percent of Americans were in favor of legalization of medically assisted suicide, while two years earlier only 53 percent of people supported it.
However, public opinion on assisted suicide has varied over the years. In a 2001 Gallup study, a greater proportion of 68 percent of Americans sided with medically-assisted suicide, but the support decreased to 53 percent in 2013.