You don’t discourage suicide by assisting suicide. These laws, no matter how you try, will pose a dangerous and frightening cultural shift in our views of suicide.
Last June, California enacted an assisted-suicide law. It is now legal in that state to plan and execute your own death and funeral, and people have already started taking advantage of this law. We now see the interesting spectacle of Californians on the one hand spending $200 million to stop a few dozen people a year from doing themselves in, and on the other hand, encouraging people who really want to do themselves in to go ahead and do it.
For US$200 million, a lot of people contemplating suicide in California could have an all-expense paid trip from wherever they live to San Francisco. Those with debilitating diseases could take ambulance rides, and even they might manage to live it up overnight in the garden of nightlife delights for which San Francisco is famous.
Then, with all good-byes said, the person could be assisted out onto the sidewalk and take the time-honored way out that more than 1500 of their fellow citizens have chosen over the years. And of course, we wouldn’t want any ugly fish-net suicide deterrent to get in the way, so there’s where you’d save $200 million.