Assisted Suicide

Should doctors be allowed to help terminally ill patients die?


Decisions about sustaining life, allowing it to end or even hastening death are among the most difficult choices terminally ill patients and their families can face. Such decisions also are at the heart of a debate about what is commonly called “physician-assisted suicide” — or “aid-in-dying” by supporters. Oregon and Washington — and now likely Vermont — allow physicians to write a prescription for lethal drugs if requested by someone who is terminally ill and mentally competent. A Montana court also has allowed the procedure. Supporters of assisted suicide say it allows the terminally ill to avoid unnecessary suffering and meet death on their own terms, and they say safeguards in the laws prevent abuse of the procedure. But opponents say assisted suicide devalues life, ...

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