Last updated on: 9/28/2010 | Author:

Did You Know?

1. In classical Athens, city magistrates kept a supply of poison for anyone who wished to die.
2. Jack Kevorkian, MD, the pathologist sentenced on Apr. 13, 1999 to 10-25 years in prison for his role in the euthanasia of Thomas Youk was paroled on June 1, 2007 after serving 8 years.
3. All 50 states and the District of Columbia prohibit euthanasia under general homicide laws.
4. Physician-assisted suicide is legal in nine US states and DC: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
5. On Jan. 17, 2006, in Gonzales v. Oregon, the US Supreme Court voted 6-3 to uphold the ability of physicians to prescribe lethal doses of controlled substances to terminally ill patients.
Click for the Encyclopaedia Britannica video about Diane Pretty, a British woman who unsuccessfully petitioned the European Court of Human Rights in 2002 for the right to assisted suicide
6. Between Oct. 27, 1997 (when the Oregon Death with Dignity Act was passed) and 2017, 1,257 people in the state of Oregon have died from lethal drugs prescribed under the terms of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.
7. On Nov. 5, 2008, Washington became the second US state to legalize physician-assisted suicide after voters approved a ballot initiative (59% to 41%) to implement the Washington Death with Dignity Act.
8. Euthanasia is legal in four countries worldwide: Belgium, Colombia, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.
9. On Dec. 5, 2008, Montana district judge Dorothy McCarter made Montana the third state with legal physician-assisted suicide with her ruling in the case of Baxter v. Montana.
10. The original text of the ancient Greek Hippocratic Oath, written sometime between 460 and 380 BC, contained prohibitions against surgery, abortion, and euthanasia. It is still taken (in some form) by many medical school graduates.
11. The earliest American statute to explicitly outlaw assisted suicide was enacted in New York on Dec. 10, 1828.
12. A May 2006 Gallup Poll found that 69% of Americans answered yes to the question "When a person has a disease that cannot be cured, do you think doctors should be allowed by law to end the patient's life by some painless means if the patient and his family request it?"