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State Laws on Physician Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia

You are expected to research your state's laws concerning physician assisted suicide (PAS) and euthanasia along with that of two other states.

Discuss the similarities and differences of the statutes governing physician assisted suicide.
Discuss the similarities and differences of the statutes governing euthanasia.

Solution Preview

Under the law, euthanasia is defined as "the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit" (Euthanasia Law, n.d., Section Definitions) and assisted suicide as "someone provides an individual with the information, guidance, and means to take his or her own life with the intention that they will be used for this purpose. When it is a doctor who helps another person to kill themselves it is called "physician assisted suicide" (Euthanasia Law, n.d., Section Definitions).

The Supreme Court of the United Sates has left the decision to either allow or restrict euthanasia and assisted suicide to the states, since there is no fundamental right to die in the Constitution (Washington v. Glucksberg, 1997.).

At this time (2010), only two states, Oregon and Washington State, have a Death with dignity Act allowing the physician to write a valid prescription for lethal medication. For the rest of the nation, any and every person who deliberately aids or advises, or encourages another to commit suicide, is considered guilty of a felony. Euthanasia is banned in all the states.

In November 1994, ...

Solution Summary

The solution includes a discussion of the two states (Oregon and Washington) that have established precedent on physician assisted suicide and Euthanasia, federal opinions on the matters and other states opinion on the matter.

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