What does 'partially agree' mean?
Even though 31 % of Norwegian doctors say they 'strongly agree' or 'partially agree' that physician-assisted suicide should be permitted, the 2019 survey shows that only 9 % 'strongly agree' (5). Similarly, only 9 % of the doctors surveyed said that they would be willing to provide assisted dying if it is permitted in Norway. The 22 % who say they 'partially agree', can just as well be grouped with the 11 % who 'neither agree nor disagree', and the 11 % who say they 'partially disagree'. This may apply to doctors who see arguments both in favour of and against legalising assisted dying, but who have not as yet reached a clear conclusion that Norwegian law, which currently forbids assisted dying, should be changed. These may be doctors who in principle may be open to allowing assisted dying, but who would set requirements for how this could be done in an acceptable fashion. Meanwhile, the survey shows that almost half (47 %) 'strongly disagree' that physician-assisted suicide should be permitted, and even more are opposed to providing euthanasia or assisted dying to people who are not dying.
The 2019 opinion poll should not be interpreted as meaning that a large percentage of Norwegian doctors actually believe that assisted dying should be introduced in Norway
We are of the opinion, therefore, that the 2019 opinion poll should not be interpreted as meaning that a large percentage of Norwegian doctors actually believe that assisted dying should be introduced in Norway. Fewer than one in ten are ready to accept assisted dying, almost half are strongly against, and we know little about the opinions of the 40 % in between. In particular, we do not know what criteria would have to be met in terms of patient selection, medical conditions, forms of assisted dying, control mechanisms, rights of reservation etc. that would make assisted dying acceptable to them.