Extensive on the right-to-die, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

No one enjoys suffering, but that does not make it right to determine that a person should die.

Final Exit - Assisted Dying Information - Euthanasia Resea

Debate about the morality and legality of voluntary euthanasia hasbeen, for the most part, a phenomenon of the second half of thetwentieth century and the beginning of the twenty firstcentury. Certainly, the ancient Greeks and Romans did not believe thatlife needed to be preserved at any cost and were, in consequence,tolerant of suicide in cases when no relief could be offered to thedying or, in the case of the Stoics and Epicureans, when a person nolonger cared for his life. In the sixteenth century, Thomas More, indescribing a utopian community, envisaged such a community as one thatwould facilitate the death of those whose lives had become burdensomeas a result of ‘torturing and lingering pain’. But it hasonly been in the last hundred years that there have been concertedefforts to make legal provision for voluntary euthanasia. Until quiterecently, there had been no success in obtaining such legal provision(though assisted suicide, including, but not limited to,physician-assisted suicide, has been legally tolerated in Switzerlandfor many years). However, the outlook changed dramatically in the1970s and 80s because of a series of court cases in The Netherlandswhich culminated in an agreement between the legal and medicalauthorities to ensure that no physician would be prosecuted forassisting a patient to die as long as certain guidelines were strictlyadhered to (see Griffiths, et al. 1998). In brief, the guidelines wereestablished to permit physicians to practise voluntary euthanasia inthose instances in which a competent patient had made a voluntary andinformed request to be helped to die, the patient's suffering wasunbearable, there was no way of making that suffering bearable thatwas acceptable to the patient, and the physician's judgements as todiagnosis and prognosis were confirmed after consultation with anotherphysician. In the 1990s, the first legislative approval for voluntaryeuthanasia was achieved with the passage of a bill in the parliamentof Australia's Northern Territory to enable physicians to practisevoluntary euthanasia. Subsequent to the Act's proclamation in 1996, itfaced a series of legal challenges from opponents of voluntaryeuthanasia. In 1997 the challenges culminated in the AustralianNational Parliament overturning the legislation when it prohibitedAustralian Territories (the Australian Capital Territory and theNorthern Territory) from enacting legislation to permit euthanasia. InOregon in the United States, legislation was introduced in 1997 topermit physician-assisted suicide after a referendum clearly endorsedthe proposed legislation. Later in 1997, the Supreme Court of theUnited States ruled that there is no constitutional right tophysician-assisted suicide; however, the Court did not precludeindividual states from legislating in favor of physician-assistedsuicide (so the Oregon legislation remained in force). Since that timethe Oregon legislation has been successfully utilised by a significantnumber of people. Similar legislation was passed in the state ofWashington in 2009 and in the state of Vermont in 2013. A series ofjudicial decisions in the state of Montana in 2008 and 2009established that the state could not prohibit physician-assistedsuicide but legislation has not yet been introduced to codify thelegal situation. A similar legal position has obtained in Colombiasince the late 1990s as a result of a majority ruling by theConstitutional Court in favor of the legality of physician-assistedsuicide. In November 2000, The Netherlands passed legislation tolegalize the practice of voluntary euthanasia. The legislation passedthrough all the parliamentary stages early in 2001. The Belgianparliament passed similar legislation in May 2002. Luxembourg followedsuit in 2009. (For a very helpful comparative study of relevantlegislation see Lewis 2007. See also Griffiths, et al. 2008.)

20th & 21st Century  of Voluntary Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide (1906-2012)

BBC - Ethics: Euthanasia and physician assisted suicide

Second, if physician-assisted suicide is legalized but euthanasia is not, some competent patients may not be able to end their own lives for purely physical reasons, as in the case of patients with neurologic illnesses who have problems with swallowing or using their hands and patients who are physically too weak to take all the oral medication themselves. One study found that general practitioners and nursing home physicians preferred euthanasia to assisted suicide because of limitations imposed by the patient's condition in 48 percent of 155 cases of euthanasia and in 78 percent of 50 cases, respectively.

Euthanasia and suicide are not included among the reasons allowed for killing in Islam.

When a person carries out an act of euthanasia, she brings about thedeath of another person because she believes the latter's presentexistence is so bad that he would be better off dead, or believes thatunless she intervenes and ends his life, his life will become so badthat he would be better off dead. Thus, the motive of the person whocommits an act of euthanasia is to benefit the one whose death isbrought about. (This also holds for many instances ofphysician-assisted suicide, but some wish to restrict the use of thelatter term to forms of assistance which stop short of the physician‘bringing about the death’ of the patient, for example,those involving mechanical means that have to be activated by thepatient.)

has no laws permitting assisted suicide, despite reports that it does.


Physician-Assisted Suicide - Introduction

It is sometimes said that if society allows voluntaryeuthanasia to be legalized, we will then have set foot on a slipperyslope that will lead us eventually to support other forms ofeuthanasia, including, in particular, non-voluntaryeuthanasia. Whereas it was once the common refrain that that wasprecisely what happened in Hitler's Germany, in recent decades thetendency has been to claim that experience with legalized euthanasiain The Netherlands has confirmed the reality of the slipperyslope. Slippery slope arguments come in various versions. One (but notthe only) way of classifying them has been to refer to logical,psychological and arbitrary line versions. The common feature of thedifferent forms is the contention that once the first step is taken ona slippery slope the subsequent steps follow inexorably, whether forlogical reasons, psychological reasons, or to avoid arbitrariness in‘drawing a line’ between a person's actions. (For furtherdiscussion see, e.g., Rachels 1986; Brock 1992; Walton 1992.)

HOPE: preventing euthanasia & assisted suicide

27. Onwuteaka-Philipsen BD, Muller MT, van der Wal G, van Eijk JT, Ribbe MW. Attitudes of Dutch general practitioners and nursing home physicians to active voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. ;4:-

World Laws on Assisted Suicide - ERGO - Final Exit

25. Lee MA, Nelson HD, Tilden VP, Ganzini L, Schmidt TA, Tolle SW. Legalizing assisted suicide -- views of physicians in Oregon. ;334:-