A new public opinion survey showed that a majority of Americans do not support assisted suicide, while a strong majority have deep concern over proposals to permit the practice. Proposals to legalize assisted suicide have stalled in several states so far this year, included Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, and Nevada.
According to the Marist Poll, 61 percent of Americans do not support allowing physicians to prescribe or administer suicide drugs, while saying that physicians should only manage illnesses or remove life support for patients. In addition, 57 percent of Americans say they are less likely to trust physicians who provide assisted suicide.
A majority of those polled do not support allowing physician-prescribed lethal drug doses. Only 43 percent support the practice, while 57 percent either oppose it (36 percent) or do not have a position (21 percent).
In addition, Americans do not think assisted suicide is a priority. Of those polled, 78 percent say the economy takes first place, while 64 percent say the same about affordable health care. Only 22 percent consider assisted suicide a top priority - the lowest of the five issues covered in the poll.
Only 7 percent of those polled say they would definitely ask a doctor for assisted suicide, while 51 percent said they definitely would not make such a request.
In other findings:
65 percent concerned that the elderly will be at risk in nursing homes.
64 percent concerned that the depressed will be more likely to take their lives.
59 percent concerned about a wrong diagnosis.
55 percent concerned that the doctor could misjudge a patient's state of mind.
55 percent concerned that it will become a cost-saving measure for health care decisions.
54 percent concerned that patients will be pressured to take their life so as not to be a burden.
Between 4 in 10 and 6 in 10 of those who support assisted suicide also share each of these concerns.
The survey of 2,079 American adults was conducted Jan. 7-13, 2015.
Marist Poll was founded in 1978. It conducted polls in the states contested in the 2012 presidential election for NBC and The Wall Street Journal.
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