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Euthanasia (from the Greek eu = good + thanatos = death) refers to the practice of ending a life in a painless manner. Many different forms of euthanasia can be distinguished, including animal euthanasia and human euthanasia, and within the latter, voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide have been the focus of great controversy in recent years.

As of 2009, some forms of euthanasia are legal in Belgium,[1] Luxembourg,[2] The Netherlands,[1] Switzerland,[1] the U.S. states of Oregon[3] and Washington[4] the Autonomous Community of Andalusia (Spain),[5][6] and Thailand.[7]


Classification of euthanasia

Euthanasia by consent

Euthanasia may be conducted with consent (voluntary euthanasia) or without consent (involuntary euthanasia). Involuntary euthanasia is conducted where an individual makes a decision for another person incapable of doing so. The decision can be made based on what the incapacitated individual would have wanted, or it could be made on substituted judgment of what the decision maker would want were he or she in the incapacitated person's place, or finally, the decision could be made by assessing objectively whether euthanasia is the most beneficial course of treatment. In any case, euthanasia by proxy consent is highly controversial, especially because multiple proxies may claim the authority to decide for the patient and may or may not have explicit consent from the patient to make that decision.[8]

Euthanasia by means

Euthanasia may be conducted passively, non-actively, and actively. Passive euthanasia entails the withholding of common treatments (such as antibiotics, chemotherapy in cancer, or surgery) or the distribution of a medication (such as morphine) to relieve pain, knowing that it may also result in death (principle of double effect). Passive euthanasia is the most accepted form, and it is a common practice in most hospitals. Non-active euthanasia entails the withdrawing of life support and is more controversial. Active euthanasia entails the use of lethal substances or forces to kill and is the most controversial means. An individual may use a euthanasia machine to perform euthanasia on himself / herself.

Assisted suicide

Assisted suicide is a form of euthanasia where the patient actively takes the last step in their death. The term "assisted suicide" is contrasted with "active euthanasia" when the difference between providing the means and actively administering lethal medicine is considered important[9]. For example, Swiss law on assisted suicide allows assisted suicide, while all forms of active euthanasia (like lethal injection) remain prohibited.

Some jurisdictions declare that a person dying as a result of physician assisted suicide does not commit suicide. This ensures that terminally ill people choosing assisted suicide options do not have reduced insurance claims compared to people dying in "natural" way. For example, the Oregon Death with Dignity Act defines that "... participation under the Act is not suicide, so should not affect insurance benefits by that definition."[10]

Other terminology

A coup de grâce is a "death blow" given to end the misery of a dying enemy or friend, or that precipitates the final destruction of an entity such as a ship or business.

Voluntary refusal of food and fluids (VRFF) or Patient Refusal of Nutrition and Hydration (PRNH) is bordering on euthanasia. Some authors classify it as a form of passive euthanasia,[11] while others treat it separately because it is treated differently from legal point of view and often perceived as a more ethical option[12]. VRFF is sometimes suggested as a legal alternative to euthanasia in jurisdictions disallowing euthanasia.[citation needed]

Animal euthanasia is to kill an animal without pain or distress."[13] Techniques to accomplish this include cervical dislocation (breaking the spine) and exsanguination (fatal blood loss).[13]


The term euthanasia comes from the Greek words "eu"-meaning good and "thanatos"-meaning death, which combined means “well-death” or "dying well". Hippocrates mentions euthanasia in the Hippocratic Oath, which was written between 400 and 300 B.C. The original Oath states: “To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug nor give advice which may cause his death.”[14] Despite this, the ancient Greeks and Romans generally did not believe that life needed to be preserved at any cost and were, in consequence, tolerant of suicide in cases where no relief could be offered to the dying or, in the case of the Stoics and Epicureans, where a person no longer cared for his life.[8][15]

English Common Law from the 1300s until the middle of the last century made suicide a criminal act in England and Wales. Assisting others to kill themselves remains illegal in that jurisdiction. However, in the 1500s, Thomas More, in describing a utopian community, envisaged such a community as one that would facilitate the death of those whose lives had become burdensome as a result of "torturing and lingering pain".[8][16]

Modern history

Since the 19th Century, euthanasia has sparked intermittent debates and activism in North America and Europe. According to medical historian Ezekiel Emanuel, it was the availability of anesthesia that ushered in the modern era of euthanasia. In 1828, the first known anti-euthanasia law in the United States was passed in the state of New York, with many other localities and states following suit over a period of several years.[17] After the Civil War, voluntary euthanasia was promoted by advocates, including some doctors.[18] Support peaked around the turn of the century in the US and then grew again in the 1930s.

In an article in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Brown University historian Jacob M. Appel documented extensive political debate over legislation to legalize physician-assisted suicide in both Iowa and Ohio in 1906.[19] Appel indicates social activist Anna S. Hall was the driving force behind this movement.[19] Leading public figures, including Clarence Darrow and Jack London, advocated for the legalization of euthanasia.[20]

Euthanasia societies[which?] were formed in England in 1935 and in the USA in 1938 to promote euthanasia. Although euthanasia legislation did not pass in the USA or England, in 1937, doctor-assisted euthanasia was declared legal in Switzerland as long as the doctor ending the life had nothing to gain.[21][14] During this same era, US courts tackled cases involving critically ill people who requested physician assistance in dying as well as “mercy killings”, such as by parents of their severely disabled children.[citation needed]

Nazi Germany
"Of course, I had always known that the use of the term 'euthanasia' by the Nazi killers was a euphemism to camouflage their murder of human beings they had designated as 'life unworthy of life'; that their aim was not to shorten the lives of persons with painful terminal diseases but to kill human beings they considered inferior, who could otherwise have lived for many years."
The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution, Henry Friedlander, UNC Press, 1997

Prior to and during World War II, Nazi Germany conducted a euphemistically[22] named "euthanasia program",[23] code-named Action T4. This program was based on eugenics and grounded in the view that the state is responsible for providing racial hygiene.[24][25][26] Even though this program was referred to as an "euthanasia program", the Nazi German use of the term euthanasia differs from the common current view and use of the term.[27][28]

Post-War history

In the Western sphere, judges were often lenient in mercy-killing cases despite continuing religious opposition.[29] During the post-war period, prominent proponents of euthanasia included Glanville Williams (The Sanctity of Life and the Criminal Law) and clergyman Joseph Fletcher ("Morals and medicine"). By the 1960s, advocacy for a right-to-die approach to voluntary euthanasia increased.


In 1995, the world's first euthanasia legislation, the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995, was passed in the Northern Territory of Australia.[30] Four patients died under the Act, using a euthanasia device designed by Dr Philip Nitschke. The legislation was overturned in 1997 by Australia’s Federal Parliament in 1997.[21][8][14] In response to the overturning of the Act, Dr Nitschke founded EXIT International.


In 1957 in Britain, Judge Devlin ruled in the trial of Dr John Bodkin Adams that causing death through the administration of lethal drugs to a patient, if the intention is solely to alleviate pain, is not considered murder even if death is a potential or even likely outcome.[31] In 1993, the Netherlands decriminalized doctor-assisted suicide, and in 2002, restrictions were loosened. During that year, physician-assisted suicide was approved in Belgium. Belgium's at the time most famous author Hugo Claus, suffering from Alzheimer's disease, was among those that asked for euthanasia. He died in March 2008, assisted by an Antwerp doctor.

United States

A key turning point in the debate over voluntary euthanasia (and physician assisted dying), at least in the United States, was the public furor over the case of Karen Ann Quinlan. The Quinlan case paved the way for legal protection of voluntary passive euthanasia.[32] In 1977, California legalized living wills and other states soon followed suit.

In 1980 the Hemlock Society USA was founded in Santa Monica by Derek Humphry. It was the first group in America to provide information to the terminally ill in case they wanted a hastened death. Hemlock also campaigned and partially financed drives to reform the law. In 2003 Hemlock was merged with End of Life Choices, which changed its name to Compassion and Choices.

In 1990, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a Michigan physician, became infamous for encouraging and assisting people in committing suicide which resulted in a Michigan law against the practice in 1992. Kevorkian was tried and convicted in 1999 for a murder displayed on television.[21][14] Also in 1990, the Supreme Court approved the use of non-aggressive euthanasia.[33]

In 1994, Oregon voters approved the Death with Dignity Act, permitting doctors to assist terminal patients with six months or less to live to end their lives. The U.S. Supreme Court allowed such laws in 1997.[8] The Bush administration failed in its attempt to use drug law to stop Oregon in 2001, in the case Gonzales v. Oregon.[21] In 1999, non-aggressive euthanasia was permitted in Texas.

Most recently, amid U.S. government roadblocks and controversy in the Terri Schiavo case, where a Floridian who was in a vegetative state since 1990, had her feeding tube removed in 2005. Her husband had won the right to take her off life support, which he claimed she would want but was difficult to confirm as she had no living will and the rest of her family claimed otherwise.[21]

In November 2008, Washington Initiative 1000 made Washington the second U.S. state to legalize physician-assisted suicide.


While active euthanasia remains illegal in China, it is gaining increasing acceptance among doctors and the general populace.[34] Support for euthanasia is predicted by decreasing importance of religious belief, higher family income, experiences in taking care of terminally ill family members, being non-Christian, and increasing age.[35]

Arguments for and against voluntary euthanasia

Since World War II, the debate over euthanasia in Western countries has centered on voluntary euthanasia (VE) within regulated health care systems. In some cases, judicial decisions, legislation, and regulations have made VE an explicit option for patients and their guardians.[36] Proponents and critics of such VE policies offer the following reasons for and against official voluntary euthanasia policies:

Reasons given for voluntary euthanasia:

  • Choice: Proponents of VE emphasize that choice is a fundamental principle for liberal democracies and free market systems.[8]
  • Quality of Life: The pain and suffering a person feels during a disease, even with pain relievers, can be incomprehensible to a person who has not gone through it. Even without considering the physical pain, it is often difficult for patients to overcome the emotional pain of losing their independence. [8]
  • Economic costs and human resources: Today in many countries there is a shortage of hospital space. The energy of doctors and hospital beds could be used for people whose lives could be saved instead of continuing the life of those who want to die which increases the general quality of care and shortens hospital waiting lists. It is a burden to keep people alive past the point they can contribute to society, especially if the resources used could be spent on a curable ailment.[37]

Reasons given against voluntary euthanasia:

  • Professional role: Critics argue that voluntary euthanasia could unduly compromise the professional roles of health care employees, especially doctors. They point out that European physicians of previous centuries traditionally swore some variation of the Hippocratic Oath, which in its ancient form excluded euthanasia: "To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug nor give advice which may cause his death.." However, since the 1970s, this oath has largely fallen out of use.
  • Moral: Some people consider euthanasia of some or all types to be morally unacceptable.[8] This view usually treats euthanasia to be a type of murder and voluntary euthanasia as a type of suicide, the morality of which is the subject of active debate.
  • Theological: Voluntary euthanasia has often been rejected as a violation of the sanctity of human life. Specifically, some Christians argue that human life ultimately belongs to God, so that humans should not be the ones to make the choice to end life. Orthodox Judaism takes basically the same approach, however, it is more open minded, and does, given certain circumstances, allow for euthanasia to be exercised under passive or non-aggressive means. Accordingly, some theologians and other religious thinkers consider voluntary euthanasia (and suicide generally) as sinful acts, i.e. unjustified killings.[38]
  • Feasibility of implementation: Euthanasia can only be considered "voluntary" if a patient is mentally competent to make the decision, i.e., has a rational understanding of options and consequences. Competence can be difficult to determine or even define.[8]
  • Necessity: If there is some reason to believe the cause of a patient's illness or suffering is or will soon be curable, the correct action is sometimes considered to attempt to bring about a cure or engage in palliative care.[8]
  • Wishes of Family: Family members often desire to spend as much time with their loved ones as possible before they die.
  • Consent under pressure: Given the economic grounds for voluntary euthanasia (VE), critics of VE are concerned that patients may experience psychological pressure to consent to voluntary euthanasia rather than be a financial burden on their families. [39] Even where health costs are mostly covered by public money, as in various European countries, VE critics are concerned that hospital personnel would have an economic incentive to advise or pressure people toward euthanasia consent.[40]

Euthanasia and the Law

During the 20th Century, efforts to change government policies on euthanasia have met limited success in Western countries. Country policies are described here in alphabetical order, followed by the exceptional case of The Netherlands. Euthanasia policies have also been developed by a variety of NGOs, most notably medical associations and advocacy organizations.

Euthanasia and religion


There are many different views among Buddhists on the issue of euthanasia. Here are a few:

In Theravada Buddhism a lay person daily recites the simple formula: "I undertake the precept to abstain from destroying living beings."[41] For Buddhist monastics (bhikkhu) however the rules are more explicitly spelled out. For example, in the monastic code (Patimokkha), it states:

"Should any bhikkhu intentionally deprive a human being of life, or search for an assassin for him, or praise the advantages of death, or incite him to die (thus): 'My good man, what use is this wretched, miserable life to you? Death would be better for you than life,' or with such an idea in mind, such a purpose in mind, should in various ways praise the advantages of death or incite him to die, he also is defeated and no longer in communion."[42]

In other words, such a monk or nun would be expelled irrevocably from the Buddhist monastic community (sangha).[43] The prohibition against assisting another in their death includes circumstances when a monastic is caring for the terminally ill and extends to a prohibition against a monastic's purposively hastening another's death through word, action or treatment.[42]

American Buddhist monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:

Thus, from the Buddha's perspective, encouraging a sick person to relax her grip on life or to give up the will to live would not count as an act of compassion. Instead of trying to ease the patient's transition to death, the Buddha focused on easing his or her insight into suffering and its end.[44]

The Dalai Lama was cited by the Agence-France Presse in a 18 September 1996 article entitled "Dalai Lama Backs Euthanasia in Exceptional Circumstances" regarding his position on legal euthanasia:

Asked his view on euthanasia, the Dalai Lama said Buddhists believed every life was precious and none more so than human life, adding: 'I think it's better to avoid it.'
'But at the same time I think with abortion, (which) Buddhism considers an act of killing ... the Buddhist way is to judge the right and wrong or the pros and cons.'
He cited the case of a person in a coma with no possibility of recovery or a woman whose pregnancy threatened her life or that of the child or both where the harm caused by not taking action might be greater.
"These are, I think from the Buddhist viewpoint, exceptional cases," he said. "So it's best to be judged on a case by case basis."



Catholic teaching condemns euthanasia as a "crime against life".[45] The teaching of the Catholic Church on euthanasia rests on several core principles of Catholic ethics, including the sanctity of human life, the dignity of the human person, concomitant human rights, due proportionality in casuistic remedies, the unavoidability of death, and the importance of charity.[46] The Church's official position is the 1980 Declaration on Euthanasia issued by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.[46]

In Catholic medical ethics official pronouncements strongly oppose active euthanasia, whether voluntary or not[47], while allowing dying to proceed without medical interventions that would be considered "extraordinary" or "disproportionate." The Declaration on Euthanasia states that:

"When inevitable death is imminent... it is permitted in conscience to take the decision to refuse forms of treatment that would only secure a precarious and burdensome prolongation of life, so long as the normal care due to a sick person in similar cases is not interrupted."

The Declaration concludes that doctors, beyond providing medical skill, must above all provide patients "with the comfort of boundless kindness and heartfelt charity".

Although the Declaration allows people to decline heroic medical treatment when death is imminently inevitable, it unequivocably prohibits the hastening of death and restates Vatican II's condemnation of "crimes against life 'such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or willful suicide'". [45]

So due to its principle of double effect, Roman Catholic moral theology does leave room for shortening life with pain-killers and what could be characterized as passive euthanasia.[48]


Protestant denominations vary widely on their approach to euthanasia and physician assisted death. Since the 1970s, Evangelical churches have worked with Roman Catholics on a sanctity of life approach, though the Evangelicals may be adopting a more exceptionless opposition. While liberal Protestant denominations have largely eschewed euthanasia, many individual advocates (e.g., Joseph Fletcher) and euthanasia society activists have been Protestant clergy and laity. As physician assisted dying has obtained greater legal support, some liberal Protestant denominations have offered religious arguments and support for limited forms of euthanasia. People such as Lutherans are taught euthanasia is wrong and that it is God who has the right over life and death.[citation needed]


There are two Hindu points of view on euthanasia. By helping to end a painful life a person is performing a good deed and so fulfilling their moral obligations. On the other hand, by helping to end a life, even one filled with suffering, a person is disturbing the timing of the cycle of death and rebirth. This is a bad thing to do, and those involved in the euthanasia will take on the remaining karma of the patient. However, the same argument suggests that keeping a person artificially alive on a life-support machines would also be a bad thing to do.[49]


Islam categorically forbids all forms of suicide and any action that may help another to kill themselves.[50] [51] It is forbidden for a Muslim to plan, or come to know through self-will, the time of his own death in advance[52]. The precedent for this comes from the Islamic prophet Muhammad having refused to bless the body of a person who had committed suicide. If an individual is suffering from a terminal illness, it is permissible for the individual to refuse medication and/or resuscitation. Other examples include individuals suffering from kidney failure who refuse dialysis treatments and cancer patients who refuse chemotherapy.


Mavavira Varadhmana explicitly allows a sharavak (follower of Jainism) full consent to put an end to his or her life if the sharavak feels that such a stage is near that moksha can be achieved this way. Liberation from the cycles of lives being the primary objective in the religion.[citation needed]


Like the trend among Protestants, Jewish medical ethics have become divided, partly on denominational lines, over euthanasia and end of life treatment since the 1970s. Generally, Jewish thinkers oppose voluntary euthanasia, often vigorously,[53] though there is some backing for voluntary passive euthanasia in limited circumstances.[54] Likewise, within the Conservative Judaism movement, there has been increasing support for passive euthanasia (PAD)[55] In Reform Judaism responsa, the preponderance of anti-euthanasia sentiment has shifted in recent years to increasing support for certain passive euthanasia (PAD) options.[citation needed]

The Samurai tradition

The samurai ritual of seppuku is analogous to euthanasia, in that an assistant would behead the suicide after the suicide had fatally stabbed themselves in order to bring death swiftly and reduce the time the suicide was in pain. It was thus a form of voluntary euthanasia, or mercy killing. In line with Buddhist thinking, the seppuku ritual laid great emphasis on the suicide having a peaceful mind during the action.[56]


In Japan, where the dominant religion is Shinto, 69% of the religious organisations agree with the act of voluntary passive euthanasia.[57] The corresponding figure was 75% when the family asked for it. In Shinto, the prolongation of life using artificial means is a disgraceful act against life.[57] Views on active euthanasia are mixed, with 25% Shinto and Buddhist organisations in Japan supporting voluntary active euthanasia.

Euthanasia protocol

A euthanasia device invented by Dr Philip Nitschke that facilitated euthanasia through heavy doses of drugs. The laptop screen led the user through a series of steps and questions to ensure he or she was fully prepared. The machine in a museum.

Euthanasia can be accomplished either through an oral, intravenous, or intramuscular administration of drugs, or by oxygen deprivation (anoxia), as in some euthanasia machines. In individuals who are incapable of swallowing lethal doses of medication, an intravenous route is preferred. The following is a Dutch protocol for parenteral (intravenous) administration to obtain euthanasia:

Intravenous administration is the most reliable and rapid way to accomplish euthanasia. A coma is first induced by intravenous administration of 20 mg/kg sodium thiopental (Nesdonal) in a small volume (10 ml physiological saline). Then a triple intravenous dose of a non-depolarizing neuromuscular muscle relaxant is given, such as 20 mg pancuronium bromide (Pavulon) or 20 mg vecuronium bromide (Norcuron). The muscle relaxant should preferably be given intravenously, in order to ensure optimal availability. Only for pancuronium bromide (Pavulon) are there substantial indications that the agent may also be given intramuscularly in a dosage of 40 mg.[58]

With regards to nonvoluntary euthanasia, the cases where the person could consent but was not asked are often viewed differently from those where the person could not consent. Some people raise issues regarding stereotypes of disability that can lead to non-disabled or less disabled people overestimating the person's suffering, or assuming it to be unchangeable when it could be changed. For example, many disability rights advocates responded to Tracy Latimer's murder by pointing out that her parents had refused a hip surgery that could have greatly reduced or eliminated the physical pain Tracy experienced. Also, they point out that a severely disabled person need not be in emotional pain at their situation, and claim that the emotional pain, if present, is due to societal prejudice rather than the disability, analogous to a person of a particular ethnicity wanting to die because they have internalized negative stereotypes about their ethnic background. Another example of this is Keith McCormick, a New Zealander Paralympian who was "mercy-killed" by his caregiver, and Matthew Sutton.[59][60]

With regards to voluntary euthanasia, many people argue that 'equal access' should apply to access to suicide as well, so therefore disabled people who cannot kill themselves should have access to voluntary euthanasia.

Euthanasia in the arts

Apart from The Old Law, a 17th century tragicomedy written by Thomas Middleton, William Rowley, and Philip Massinger, one of the early books to deal with euthanasia in a fictional context is Anthony Trollope's 1882 dystopian novel, The Fixed Period. Ricarda Huch's novel The Deruga Case (1917) is about a physician who is acquitted after performing euthanasia on his dying ex-wife.

The films Children of Men and Soylent Green, as well as the book The Giver, depict instances of government-sponsored euthanasia in order to strengthen their dystopian themes. The protagonist of Johnny Got His Gun is a brutally mutilated war veteran whose request for euthanasia furthers the work's anti-war message.

The recent films Mar Adentro and Million Dollar Baby argue more directly in favor of euthanasia by illustrating the suffering of their protagonists. These films have provoked debate and controversy in their home countries of Spain and the United States respectively.

Thrash metal band Megadeth's 1994 album Youthanasia (the title is a pun on euthanasia) implies that society is euthanizing its youth.

See also

Notes and references


  • I. ^  The word euthanasia comes from the Ancient Greek word ευθανασία, meaning "well death". ευ-, eu- (well) + θάνατος, thanatos (death).


  1. ^ a b c Euthanasia and the law
  2. ^ Luxembourg says 'yes' to euthanasia
  3. ^ Oregon’s Death with Dignity law and Euthanasia in the Netherlands: Factual Disputes
  4. ^ See Washington Initiative 1000, which passed on 4 Nov 2008.
  5. ^ "Andalucía permitirá por ley la eutanasia pasiva para enfermos incurables", 20 Minutos. 31 May 2008
  6. ^ "Andalusia euthanasia law unnecessary, expert warns", Catholic News Agency. 26 Jun 2008
  7. ^ พระราชบัญญัติสุขภาพแห่งชาติ พ.ศ. 2550. (2550, 19 มีนาคม). ราชกิจจานุเบกษา, (เล่ม 124, ตอนที่ 16 ก).
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j An overview of voluntary euthanasia
  9. ^ Assisted suicide bordering on active euthanasia, International Journal of Legal Medicine, Volume 117, Number 2 / April, 2003
  10. ^ "FAQs about Death with Dignity". Retrieved on 2009-03-10. 
  11. ^ Patient Refusal of Nutrition and Hydration: Walking the Ever-Finer Line
  12. ^ Harvath TA. Voluntary refusal of food and fluids: attitudes of Oregon hospice nurses and social workers. Int J Palliat Nurs. 2004 May;10(5):236-41
  13. ^ a b "Glossary." CCAC Programs. 2005. Canadian Council on Animal Care. 13 July 2007 (
  14. ^ a b c d History of Euthanasia
  15. ^ See Senicide
  16. ^ See Humphry and Wickett (1986:8-10) on More, Montaigne, Donne, and Bacon.
  17. ^ History of Euthanasia (PowerPoint presentation), "The earliest American statute explicitly to outlaw assisting suicide was enacted in New York in 1828, Act of Dec. 10, 1828, ch. 20, §4, 1828 N. Y. Laws 19 (codified at 2 N. Y. Rev. Stat. pt. 4, ch. 1, tit. 2, art. 1, §7, p. 661 (1829)), and many of the new States and Territories followed New York's example. Marzen 73-74." Retrieved June 16, 2007.
  18. ^ Humphry and Wickett 1986:11-12, Emanuel 2004.
  19. ^ a b Appel, Jacob M. "A Duty to Kill? A Duty to Die." Bulletin of the History of Medicine. 78.3 (October 2004): 610-634.
  20. ^ Dowbiggin, Ian. A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America. OUP. ISBN 0195154436. 
  21. ^ a b c d e euthanasia. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-07
  22. ^ Friedlander, Henry (1997). The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution. UNC Press. pp. xi. ISBN 0807846759.,M1. 
  23. ^ "Transcription". United States Holocaust Museum. 
  24. ^ Hitler, Mein Kampf, 447 (cited by Peter Padfield, Himmler, Macmillan 1990, 260).
  25. ^ Kershaw, II, 252
  26. ^ Basic Books 1986, 46
  27. ^ Basic Books 1986, 46
  28. ^ Stein, Stuart D. ""Life Unworthy of Life" and other Medical Killing Programmes". 
  29. ^ Humphrey and Wickett, ch.4. See also Kamisar.
  30. ^ Australia passes first euthanasia law
  31. ^ Margaret Otlowski, Voluntary Euthanasia and the Common Law, Oxford University Press, 1997, pp. 175-177
  32. ^ For the UK see the Bland case.
  33. ^ Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health
  34. ^ Pu SD (April 1991). "Euthanasia in China: a report". J Med Philos 16 (2): 131–8. PMID 2061698. 
  35. ^ Chong AM, Fok SY (2009). "Attitudes toward euthanasia: implications for social work practice". Soc Work Health Care 48 (2): 119–33. doi:10.1080/00981380802533298. PMID 19197770. 
  36. ^ See Government policies below for specific examples
  37. ^ See also Utilitarianism
  38. ^ See Religious views of suicide
  39. ^ "Terminally ill patients often fear being a burden to others and may feel they ought to request euthanasia to relieve their relatives from distress." letter to the editor of the Financial Times by Dr David Jeffrey, published 11 Jan 2003.
  40. ^ "If euthanasia became socially acceptable, the sick would no longer be able to trust either doctors or their relatives: many of those earnestly counselling a painless, 'dignified' death would be doing so mainly on financial grounds. Euthanasia would become a euphemism for assisted murder." FT WEEKEND - THE FRONT LINE: Don't take liberties with the right to die by Michael Prowse, Financial Times, 4th Jan 2003
  41. ^ This is the first of the Five Precepts. It has various interpretations.
  42. ^ a b Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1994). Buddhist Monastic Code I: Chapter 4, Parajika. Retrieved 2007-11-11 from "Access to Insight" at
  43. ^ There are only four offenses (parajika) that could lead to such an expulsion for a monk; eight such offenses for a nun (bhikkhuni). The other three parajika for monks are: engaging in a sexual act; stealing; and, falsely claiming to have achieved advanced spiritual states (such as jhanic absorptions or nibbana) (Thanissaro 1994).
  44. ^ Thanissaro Bhikkhu “Educating Compassion” Article link at Access to Insight
  46. ^ a b "Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. "Declaration on Euthanasia," May 5, 1980". 
  47. ^ " one is permitted to ask for this act of killing, either for himself or herself or for another person entrusted to his or her care, nor can he or she consent to it, either explicitly or implicitly. nor can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action."
  48. ^ Papal statements 1956-1957 and Gerald Kelly
  49. ^ "BBC - Religion & Ethics - Euthanasia". Retrieved on 2009-02-14. 
  50. ^ Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Book 71. University of Southern California. Hadith 7.71.670. 
  51. ^ Translation of Sahih Muslim, Book 35. University of Southern California. Hadith 35.6485. 
  52. ^ Translation of Sahih Muslim, Book 35. University of Southern California. Hadith 35.6480. 
  53. ^ E.g., J. David Bleich, Eliezer Waldenberg
  54. ^ E.g., see writings of Daniel Sinclair, Moshe Tendler, Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Moshe Feinstein.
  55. ^ See Elliot Dorff and, for earlier speculation, Byron Sherwin.
  56. ^ "BBC - Religion & Ethics - Buddhism, euthanasia and suicide". Retrieved on 2009-02-14. 
  57. ^ a b "9.3. Implications of Japanese religious views toward life and death in medicine". Retrieved on 2009-02-14. 
  58. ^ "Administration and Compounding Of Euthanasic Agents". 
  59. ^ "NZ Herald Story". 
  60. ^ "Parents walk free after killing son". ABC News Online. 2007-04-04. 

Selected bibliography

Neutral (approx.)

  • Battin, Margaret P., Rhodes, Rosamond, and Silvers, Anita, eds. Physician assisted suicide: expanding the debate. NY: Routledge, 1998.
  • Emanuel, Ezekiel J. 2004. "The history of euthanasia debates in the United States and Britain" in Death and dying: a reader, edited by T. A. Shannon. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Dennis J. Horan, David Mall, eds. (1977). Death, dying, and euthanasia. Frederick, MD: University Publications of America. ISBN 0-89093-139-9. 

  • Kopelman, Loretta M., deVille, Kenneth A., eds. Physician-assisted suicide: What are the issues? Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001. (E.g., Engelhardt on secular bioethics)
  • Magnusson, Roger S. “The sanctity of life and the right to die: social and jurisprudential aspects of the euthanasia debate in Australia and the United States” in Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal (6:1), January 1997.
  • Palmer, “Dr. Adams’ Trial for Murder” in The Criminal Law Review. (Reporting on R. v. Adams with Devlin J. at 375f.) 365-377, 1957.
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