Proponents of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) contend that terminally ill people should have the right to end their suffering with a quick, dignified, and compassionate death. They argue that the right to die is protected by the same constitutional safeguards that guarantee such rights as marriage, procreation, and the refusal or termination of life-saving medical treatment.
Opponents of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide contend that doctors have a moral responsibility to keep their patients alive as reflected by the Hippocratic Oath. They argue there may be a slippery slope from euthanasia to murder, and that legalizing euthanasia will unfairly target the poor and disabled and create incentives for insurance companies to terminate lives in order to save money.
[Editor’s Note: We do not recommend or refer specific physicians, counselors, organizations, or other experts on end-of-life issues.] Some people find our use of the phrase “physician-assisted suicide” inaccurate and inappropriate, and they suggest we use the phrase “physician aid in dying” instead. In an effort to make our nonpartisan research accessible to the largest possible audience, we have used the more popular phrase “physician-assisted suicide.” We do not mean to show support for or opposition to the practice by using the more common terminology.