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Legalize Assisted Suicide

The BriefGet Up To Speed

In 1994, Oregon voters passed the Death with Dignity Act, which legalized physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill. Since then, it has become legal in 4 more states, including New Mexico, where the state court ruling that it is constitutional is under appeal. Is it, in the words of the American Medical Association'€™s code of ethics, '€œfundamentally incompatible with the physician'€™s role as healer'€? Will these laws lead to a slippery slope, where the vulnerable are pressured to choose death and human life is devalued? Or do we need to recognize everyone'€™s basic right to autonomy, the right to end pain and suffering, and the right to choose to die with dignity?


<a name="compassionandchoices" id="compassionandchoices"></a>Compassion &amp; Choices is the leading nonprofit organization committed to helping everyone have the best death possible.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

My question is: Who has the right to tell me that I don't deserve this choice? That I deserve to suffer for weeks or months in tremendous amounts of physical and emotional pain? Why should anyone have the right to make that choice for me?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Brittany Maynard

A woman with terminal brain cancer is choosing to end her life on Nov. 1 — and that's her right.

Sunday, October 19, 2014
Joanna Rothkopf

When doctors equate healing with quantity of life, they ignore the quality of life. If suffering is intolerable, it is inhumane not to end it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014
John M. Grohol

I have been fortunate to spend my life working for dignity for the living. Now I wish to apply my mind to the issue of dignity for the dying.

Saturday, July 12, 2014
Desmond Tutu

Why should anyone—the state, the medical profession, or anyone else—presume to tell someone else how much suffering they must endure as their life is ending?

Thursday, October 11, 2012
Marcia Angell

Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.

Saturday, June 1, 1996
American Medical Association Code of Medical Ethics

Holland shows how such measures get out of control. While the state of dying in America is outrageous, two wrongs don't make a right.

Monday, October 6, 2014
Ira Byock

In short, pain control and other elements of palliative care must be clearly distinguished from intentional killing of patients.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Richard M. Doerflinger and Carlos F. Gomez

Legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide therefore places many people at risk, affects the values of society over time, and does not provide controls and safeguards.

Friday, April 1, 2011
J. Pereira

The disability community’s opposition to assisted suicide stems in part from factors that directly impact the disability community as well as all of society./span&gt;

Friday, January 1, 2010
Marilyn Golden and Tyler Zoanni

The judicial discovery of a sweeping constitutional right to die is analytically unconvincing and politically indefensible.

Monday, June 24, 1996
Jeffrey Rosen

Physician aid-in-dying (PAD) refers to a practice in which a physician provides a competent, terminally ill patient with a prescription for a lethal dose of medication, upon the patient's request, which the patient intends to use to end his or her own life.

Monday, April 1, 2013
University of Washington School of Medicine

Diane Rehm and a panel of guests discuss the debate over “aid in dying,” also known as doctor-assisted suicide.

Thursday, October 23, 2014
The Diane Rehm Show

Barbara Mancini was arrested and charged with helping her dying father kill himself. Anderson Cooper has her story and more on the end-of-life debate.

Sunday, October 19, 2014
60 Minutes

Issues surrounding the end of life have been debated since long before New York became the first state to explicitly outlaw assisted suicide in 1828. This timeline looks at major events on the topic in the U.S. since the 1960s.

Thursday, November 21, 2013
Pew Research Center

Legislatures and courts, religious leaders and scientists, citizens and patient advocates have all weighed in on issues ranging from whether the terminally ill should have the right to take their own lives to how much treatment and sustenance those in the last stages of life should receive.

Friday, November 1, 2013
Pew Research Center

In the following summaries, religious leaders, scholars and ethicists from 16 major American religious groups explain how their faith traditions’ teachings address physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia and other end-of-life questions.

Friday, November 1, 2013
Pew Research Center

The Institute of Medicine was asked to produce a comprehensive report on the current state of care for people of all ages who may be approaching death. The study focuses specifically on the subset of people with “a serious illness or medical condition who may be approaching death.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Institute of Medicine

A state-by-state overview of recent developments from Compassion &amp; Choices, an organization that advocates for the expansion of the end-of-life choice movement.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

On October 27, 1997 Oregon enacted the Death with Dignity Act which allows terminally-ill Oregonians to end their lives through the voluntary self-administration of lethal medications, expressly prescribed by a physician for that purpose. Read the <a href=" target="_blank">2013 statistical report</a>.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

The Washington Death with Dignity Act, Initiative 1000, codified as RCW 70.245, passed on November 4, 2008 and went into effect on March 5, 2009. Read the <a href=" target="_blank">2013 statistical report</a>.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

On Friday the House of Lords will debate a bill on assisted dying. See how other countries have legislated on the issue.

Thursday, July 17, 2014
The Guardian

Quebec joined several U.S. states this year in allowing medically assisted death for some.

Monday, October 13, 2014
CBC News

The United Kingdom shows the rest of the world how to have a wise, honest, eloquent discussion about assisted suicide.

Monday, August 11, 2014
Lewis M. Cohen

Over the past decade, Ludwig Minelli has helped more than 1,000 people kill themselves and has turned Zurich into the undisputed world capital of assisted suicide.

Monday, March 1, 2010
Bruce Falconer

Chancellor Angela Merkel's new government says the current approach to assisted suicide in Germany won't do.

Thursday, August 7, 2014
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

At a time of national debate over health care costs and insurance, a Pew Research Center survey on end-of-life decisions finds most Americans say there are some circumstances in which doctors and nurses should allow a patient to die. At the same time, however, a growing minority says that medical professionals should do everything possible to save a patient’s life in all circumstances.

Friday, November 1, 2013
Pew Research Center