Attitudes of Michigan physicians and the public toward legalizing physician-assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia

Most Michigan physicians and adults in the state's general population appear to support legalization of physician-assisted suicide. Researchers mailed questionnaires to adults and to physicians most likely to specialize in the care of terminally ill patients twice in 1994 and again to physicians in 1995, and received 1119 questionnaires from physicians and 998 from the adults. When asked to choose between legalization and a ban, 56% of physicians and 66% of the public chose legalization, while 8% of each group were undecided. When given a range of options, 40% of physicians chose legalization, 37% chose no law at all, 17% chose a ban, and 5% were undecided. A plan whereby consultants and committees would assume responsibility for assisted suicide was more popular with physicians than one which places more responsibility on individual physicians. Assuming legalization, 22% of physicians said they would actually participate in either assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia, and 13% would only participate in assisted suicide.