Right to die

The right to die is a concept based on the opinion that a human being is entitled to end their life or undergo voluntary euthanasia. Possession of this right is often understood that a person with a terminal illness, or without the will to continue living, should be allowed to end their own life, use assisted suicide, or to decline life-prolonging treatment. The question of whom, if anyone, should be empowered to make this decision is often central to the debate.

Some academics and philosophers, such as David Benatar, consider humans to be overly optimistic in their view of the quality of their lives, and their view of the balance between the positive and the negative aspects of living.[1] This idea can be considered in terms of antinatalism and the lack of agency regarding one's birth and who should have authority over one's choice to live or die.

Proponents typically associate the right to die with the idea that one's body and one's life are one's own, to dispose of as one sees fit. However, a legitimate state interest in preventing irrational suicides is often up for debate. Pilpel and Amsel wrote:

Contemporary proponents of "rational suicide" or the "right to die" usually demand by "rationality" that the decision to kill oneself be both the autonomous choice of the agent (i.e., not due to the physician or the family pressuring them to "do the right thing" and commit suicide) and a "best option under the circumstances" choice desired by the stoics or utilitarians, as well as other natural conditions such as the choice being stable, not an impulsive decision, not due to mental illness, achieved after due deliberation, etc.[2]

Hinduism accepts the right to die for those who are tormented by terminal diseases or those who have no desire, no ambition or no responsibilities remaining. Death, however, allowed by non-violent means such as fasting to the point of starvation (Prayopavesa).[3] Jainism has a similar practice named Santhara. Other religious views on suicide vary in their tolerance and include denial of the right as well as condemnation of the act. In the Catholic faith, suicide is considered a grave sin.[4]

David - The Death of Socrates
Death of Socrates


The preservation and value of life have led to many medical advancements when it comes to treating patients. New devices and the development of palliative care has allowed humans to live longer than before. Prior to these medical advancements and care, those who were unconscious, minimally unconscious, and in a vegetative state life span was short due to no proper way to assist them with basic needs such as breathing and feeding. With the advancement of medical technology, it raises the question about the quality of life of a patient when they are no longer conscious. The right to self-determination and of others emerged and questions the definition of quality and sanctity of life; if one had the right to live, then the right to die must follow suit.[5][6] There are questions in ethics as to whether or not a right to die can coexist with a right to life. If it is argued, the right to life is inalienable, it cannot be surrendered, and therefore may be incompatible with a right to die.[7] A second debate exists within bioethics over whether the right to die is universal, only applies under certain circumstances (such as terminal illness), or if it exists. It is also stated that 'right to live' is not synonymous to 'obligation to live.' From that point of view, the right to live can coexist with the right to die.[8]

The right to die is supported and rejected by many. Arguments for this right include:

  1. If one had a right to live, then one must have the right to die, both on their terms.
  2. Death is a natural process of life thus there should not be any laws to prevent it if the patient seeks to end it.
  3. What we do at the end of our lives should not be of concern to others.
  4. If euthanasia is strictly controlled, we can avoid entering a slippery slope and prevent patients from seeking alternative methods which may not be legal.[5]

Arguments against include:

  1. It can lead to a slippery slope; if we allow patients this right, it can expand and have dire consequences.
  2. Give rise in pressuring those to end their lives or the lives of others; ethically immoral in human and medical standards.
  3. "Throwing away" patients who are deemed no longer capable to be part of society.
  4. Decrease in palliative end of life care due to the expectation of terminal patents to exercise their right to die.[5][9]

A court in the American state of Montana for example, has found that the right to die applies to those with life-threatening medical conditions. Suicide advocate Ludwig Minelli, euthanasia expert Sean W. Asher, and bioethics professor Jacob M. Appel, in contrast, argue that all competent people have a right to end their own lives. Appel has suggested that the right to die is a test for the overall freedom of a given society.[10]

The 1991 Patient Self-Determination Act passed by the US Congress at the request of the financial arm of Medicare does permit elderly Medicare/Medicaid patients (and by implication, all "terminal" patients) to prepare an advance directive in which they elect or choose to refuse life-extending and/or life-saving treatments as a means of shortening their lives to shorten their suffering unto certain death. The treatment refused in an advance directive under US law, because of the 1991 PSDA, does not have to be proved to be "medically futile" under some existing due-process procedure developed under state laws, such as TADA in Texas.[11]

By country

As of June 2016, some forms of voluntary euthanasia are legal in Canada,[12] Colombia,[12] Belgium,[13] Luxembourg,[14] the Netherlands,[13] and Switzerland.[13]


In 2002, Belgium parliament legalized euthanasia.[15]


As of August 2011 a British Columbia Supreme Court judge had been requested to speed up a right-to die lawsuit so that Gloria Taylor could have a doctor assist her in committing suicide. She suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease.[16] She died of an infection in 2012.

A British Columbia civil liberties lawsuit is representing six plaintiffs and challenges the laws that make it a criminal offence to assist seriously and incurably ill individuals to die with dignity.

On 6 February 2015 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that denying the right to assisted suicide is unconstitutional. The court's ruling limits physician-assisted suicides to "a competent adult person who clearly consents to the termination of life and has a grievous and irremediable medical condition, including an illness, disease or disability, that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition." The ruling was suspended for 12 months to allow the Canadian parliament to draft a new, constitutional law to replace the existing one.[17]

The court decision includes a requirement that there must be stringent limits that are "scrupulously monitored." This will require the death certificate to be completed by an independent medical examiner, not the treating physician, to ensure the accuracy of reporting the cause of death.[18]

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) reported that not all doctors were willing assist in patient's death due to legal complications and went against what a physician stood for. Many physicians stated that they should have a voice when it comes to helping a patient end their life.[19] However, the belief in late 2015 was that no physician would be forced to do so but the CMA was offering educational sessions to members as to the process that would be used.[20]

On 17 June 2016, legislation passed both houses of the Parliament of Canada and received Royal Assent to allow euthanasia within Canada.[21][12]


On 20 May 1997, the Constitutional Court of Colombia decriminalised piety homicide, for terminally ill patients, stating that "the medical author cannot be held responsible for the assisted suicide of a terminally ill patient" and urged Congress to regulate euthanasia "in the shortest time possible".[22]

On 15 December 2014, the Constitutional Court had given the Ministry of Health and Social Protection 30 days to publish guidelines for the healthcare sector to use in order to guarantee terminated ill patients, with the wish to undergo euthanasia, their right to a dignified death.[23]


Since 2018, the Supreme Court of India has legalized passive euthanasia in India during a case involving Aruna Shanbaug under strict conditions, namely that the patient's consent (or relatives) is needed, and that the patient must be terminally ill or vegetative state.


The Netherlands legalized voluntary euthanasia in 2002 and is one of the few countries in the world to have done so. Under current Dutch law, euthanasia by doctors is only legal in cases of "hopeless and unbearable" suffering. In practice this means that it is limited to those suffering from serious medical conditions (including mental illness) and in considerable suffering like pain, hypoxia or exhaustion. Helping somebody to commit suicide without meeting the qualifications of the current Dutch euthanasia law is illegal.[24] These criteria concern the patient's request, the patient's suffering (unbearable and hopeless), the information provided to the patient, the absence of reasonable alternatives, consultation of another physician and the applied method of ending life.[24]

In February 2010, citizens' initiative called Uit Vrije Wil (Out of Free Will) further demanded that all Dutch people over 70 who feel tired of life should have the right to professional help in ending it. The organization, initiated by Milly van Stiphout and Yvonne van Baarle, started collecting signatures in support of this proposed change in Dutch legislation. A number of prominent Dutch citizens supported the initiative, including former ministers and artists, legal scholars and physicians. Among them were former politicians Frits Bolkestein, Hedy d'Ancona and Jan Terlouw, as well as television personality Mies Bouwman.[25][26][27] This initiative has never been legalised.

New Zealand

Euthanasia is illegal in New Zealand. In 2015, lawyer and cancer sufferer Lecretia Seales brought a case (Seales v Attorney-General) to the High Court to challenge New Zealand law for her right to die with the assistance of her GP, asking for a declaration that her GP would not risk conviction.[28][29]

United States

The term right to die has been interpreted in many ways, including issues of suicide, passive euthanasia, active euthanasia, assisted suicide, and physician-assisted suicide.[30]

Major right to die cases

The right to die movement in the US began with the case of Karen Quinlan in 1975 and continues to raise bioethical questions of one's quality of life and the legal process of death. Karen Quinlan, 21, lost consciousness after consuming alcohol and tranquilizers at a party.[31] She soon began to experience respiratory problems which then prevented oxygen from flowing to her brain. This led her to slip into a comatose state in which a respirator and a feeding tube were used to keep her alive and breathing.[32][31] Quinlan did not have a proxy or living will, and had not expressed her wishes if something ever happened to her to those around her, which made it difficult to decide what the next step should be.

Karen Quinlan's parents understood that their daughter would never wake up and that prolonging her life may be more damaging and it would not be of quality life.[31][33] Karen Quinlan's father sought out the right to be Karen's legal guardian and petitioned for the removal of the respirator that was keeping her alive. The court, however, argued that the removal of the ventilator, which would lead to Karen's death, would be considered unlawful, unnatural, and unethical. Quinlan's lawyer's counterargument stated that the removal of the respirator would allow Karen to have a natural death which is natural and ethical. The Quinlan won the court case and were appointed as the legal guardians of their daughter. The respirator was removed in 1976, but Karen continued to live without the ventilator until 1985.[32][33] This case to this day continues to raise bioethical questions of one's quality of life and the legal process of death. The Quinlan case brings up many important issues which are still being addressed til this day.[33][34] One of the critical point that the Quinlan case brings up is the patient's right to deny or withdraw treatment. Cases, where the patient was rejected or withdrew treatment, were unheard of during that period and it went against medical ethics in preserving one's life. Debates about allowing patients the right to self-determination was controversial, and it would be evaluated for the next couple of decades from state to state. It also brings up whether family members and those who are close to the patient are allowed in the decision-making process. Since Karen had no written documentation, voiced no decision, or appointed a proxy, this caused a lengthy legal battle between the Quinlan family and the state in determining Karen's best interest and determining if she would want to live or die. This had a significant influence on the use and establishment of advance directives, oral directives, proxies, and living wills.[35]

Nancy Beth Cruzan, gravestone Wellcome L0025849
Nancy Cruzan's gravestone

Another major case that further propagated the right to die movement and the use of living wills, advance directives and use of a proxy were Nancy Cruzan. In 1983, Nancy Cruzan suffered a car accident which left her permanently in a vegetative state. Her status as an adult and lack of an advance directive, living will, or proxy led to a long legal battle for Cruzan's family in petitioning for the removal of her feeding tube which was keeping her alive since the accident. Nancy had mentioned to a friend that under no circumstances would she want to continue to live if she were ever in a vegetative state, but was not a strong enough statement to remove the feeding tube.[36] Eventually, the Cruzan family won the case and had their daughter's tube removed. This case brought great debate if the right to die should be approved from state to state or as a whole nation.[37]

Terry Schiavo is the most recent right to die case, which occurred between 1990 and 2005. This case was controversial due to a disagreement between Terri's immediate family members and her husband. In the Quinlan and Cruzan cases, the family was able to make an unanimous decision on the state of their daughters. Schiavo suffered from a cardiac arrest which led to her collapse and soon after began to have trouble breathing. The lack of oxygen to her brain caused irreversible brain damage, leaving her in a vegetative state and required a feeding tube and ventilator to keep her alive. Terri left no advance directive or had a discussion with her parents or husband about what she may have wanted if something were to happen to her. Soon after, her husband was appointed as her legal guardian.[37]

Years later, her husband decided to remove Terri's feeding tube since the chances of her waking up were slim to none. Terri's family, however, argued against this decision and brought this case to court. The case was very turbulent and occurred over some years and involved the state and its legislators before a decision was made.[37] This brought up bioethical debates on discontinuation of Schiavo's life vs. allowing her to continue living in a permanent vegetative state. Those who were for preserving Terri's life stated that removing the tube would be ethically immoral since they do not know what she would have wanted. They challenged her physical and mental state and stated that she might have some consciousness; thus she deserved to continue living. Those for removing the tube argued for self-determination and that her quality of life was diminished.[37][38][39] The Schiavo case is the most recent and significant right to die case in which propagate the thought of having an advance directive or living will. It also further looks into other complications that can arise, such as family disagreements, which should have been accounted for when dealing with a right to die case.[37][39]


As the health of citizens is considered a police power left for individual states to regulate, it was not until 1997 that the US Supreme Court made a ruling on the issue of assisted suicide and one's right to die. That year, the Supreme Court heard two appeals arguing that New York and Washington statutes that made physician-assisted suicide a felony violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.[40] In an unanimous vote, the Court held that there was no constitutional right to physician-assisted suicide and upheld state bans on assisted suicide. While in New York this has maintained statutes banning physician-assisted suicide, the Court's decision also left it open for other states to decide whether they would allow physician-assisted suicide or not.

Since 1994, five states in the US have passed assisted suicide laws: Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California, and Colorado passed legislation in 1994, 2008, 2013, 2015, and 2016, respectively, that provides a protocol for the practice of physician-assisted suicide.[41] The law in these five states allows terminally ill adult patients to seek lethal medication from their physicians. In 2009, the Montana Supreme Court ruled that nothing in state law prohibits physician-assisted suicide and provides legal protection for physicians in the case that they prescribe lethal medication upon patient request. In California, the governor signed a controversial physician-assisted-suicide bill, the California End of Life Option Act, in October 2015 that passed during a special legislative session intended to address Medi-Cal funding,[42] after it had been defeated during the regular legislative session.[43] Because the bill was passed during a special session, it did not take effect until June 2016.[44][45]

In early 2014, New Mexico Second District Judge Nan Nash ruled that terminally ill patients have the right to aid in dying under the state constitution, i.e., making it legal for a doctor to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to a terminally ill patient.[46] The ultimate decision will be made with the outcome of New Mexico's Attorney General's appeal to the ruling. Organizations have been continuously pushing for the legalization of self-determination in terminally ill patients in states where the right to ending one's life is prohibited.[47]

See also






Other related


  1. ^ David B (2017). The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Life's Biggest Questions. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190633844. OCLC 969543345.
  2. ^ A Pilpel; L Amsel. "What is Wrong with Rational Suicide" (PDF)
  3. ^ "Hinduism — Euthanasia and Suicide". BBC. 2009-08-25.
  4. ^ "Catholic Digest - The Magazine for Catholic Living - Do people who commit suicide go to hell?". Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Calabrò RS, Naro A, De Luca R, Russo M, Caccamo L, Manuli A, Bramanti A, Bramanti P (December 2016). "The Right to Die in Chronic Disorders of Consciousness: Can We Avoid the Slippery Slope Argument?". Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience. 13 (11–12): 12–24. PMC 5300707. PMID 28210521.
  6. ^ Johnson LS (March 2011). "The right to die in the minimally conscious state". Journal of Medical Ethics. 37 (3): 175–8. doi:10.1136/jme.2010.038877. PMID 21084355.
  7. ^ Feinberg J (1 April 1977). "Voluntary Euthanasia and the Inalienable Right to Life" (PDF). The Tanner Lecture on Human Values. The University of Michigan.
  8. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Dutch) Humanistisch Verbond: 'Recht op leven, plicht tot leven' (translated: Dutch Humanist Association: 'Right to live, obligation to live')
  9. ^ McCormick AJ (April 2011). "Self-determination, the right to die, and culture: a literature review". Social Work. 56 (2): 119–28. doi:10.1093/sw/56.2.119. PMID 21553575.
  10. ^ "Next: Assisted Suicide for Healthy People". The Huffington Post. 16 July 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  11. ^ Kelley K (March 1995). "The Patient Self-Determination Act. A matter of life and death". Physician Assistant. 19 (3): 49, 53–6, 59–60 passim. PMID 10141946.
  12. ^ a b c MacCharles T (17 June 2016). "Assisted dying to become law after Senate backs Liberals' bill". thestar.com. Toronto Star. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  13. ^ a b c Smartt U (23 December 2002). "Euthanasia and the law". BBC News.
  14. ^ "Euthanasia & Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS) around the World - Euthanasia - ProCon.org". euthanasia.procon.org. 2016-07-20. Retrieved 2017-04-19.
  15. ^ Wal, Gerrit van der; Deliens, Luc (2003-10-11). "The euthanasia law in Belgium and the Netherlands". The Lancet. 362 (9391): 1239–1240. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(03)14520-5. ISSN 0140-6736. PMID 14568754.
  16. ^ "B.C. court asked to fast-track right-to-die lawsuit". CBC News. 2 August 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  17. ^ Supreme Court rules Canadians have right to doctor-assisted suicide Sean Fine, Globe and Mail 6 Feb. 2015
  18. ^ Guichon J, Alakija P, Doig C, Mitchell I, Thibeault P (28 December 2015). "Assisted dying: Four problems, one simple solution". Globe and Mail. Toronto, Canada. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
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  21. ^ Keane R (20 June 2016). "Canada legalises euthanasia for the terminally ill". Her.ie. Maximum Media; Dublin, Ireland. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  22. ^ Constitutional Court of Colombia (20 May 1997). "REPÚBLICA DE COLOMBIA Corte Constitucional Sentencia No. C-239/97" (PDF). Retrieved 24 November 2016. (in Spanish)
  23. ^ Redacción Salud (19 February 2015). "Los principios para regular la eutanasia" (in Spanish). ElEspectador.com.
  24. ^ a b Buiting H, van Delden J, Onwuteaka-Philpsen B, Rietjens J, Rurup M, van Tol D, Gevers J, van der Maas P, van der Heide A (October 2009). "Reporting of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in the Netherlands: descriptive study". BMC Medical Ethics. 10: 18. doi:10.1186/1472-6939-10-18. PMC 2781018. PMID 19860873.
  25. ^ "Citizens group argues 'right to die'". Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  26. ^ "'Right to die' for elderly back at centre of Dutch debate". Archived from the original on 3 March 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  27. ^ Frans Bosman en Corrie Verkerk (2007-02-10). "70-plus eist zachte dood" (in Dutch). Het Parool.
  28. ^ "Lecretia Seales: Lawyer with cancer embarks on challenge to New Zealand's euthanasia laws". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  29. ^ "Judge thanks woman for right-to-die case". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  30. ^ "Due Process of Law". Justia Law. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
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  33. ^ a b c "Quinlan case set pace for bioethics debate". Hospitals. 59 (15): 36–7. August 1985. PMID 4018757.
  34. ^ "Wolters Kluwer Health - Article Landing Page". pt.wkhealth.com. doi:10.1097/00002727-200501000-00009. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  35. ^ Porter T, Johnson P, Warren NA (2005). "Bioethical issues concerning death: death, dying, and end-of-life rights". Critical Care Nursing Quarterly. 28 (1): 85–92. doi:10.1097/00002727-200501000-00009. PMID 15732427.
  36. ^ Greenhouse L (7 December 1989). "Right-to-Die Case Gets First Hearing in Supreme Court". The New York Times.
  37. ^ a b c d e Colby WH (2005). "From Quinlan to Cruzan to Schiavo: What have we learned?". Loyola University Chicago Law Journal. 37: 279.
  38. ^ Koch T (July 2005). "The challenge of Terri Schiavo: lessons for bioethics". Journal of Medical Ethics. 31 (7): 376–8. doi:10.1136/jme.2005.012419. PMC 1734190. PMID 15994353.
  39. ^ a b Weijer C (April 2005). "A death in the family: reflections on the Terri Schiavo case". CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association Journal = Journal de l'Association Medicale Canadienne. 172 (9): 1197–8. doi:10.1503/cmaj.050348. PMC 557072. PMID 15805148.
  40. ^ "Vacco, Attorney General of New York, et al. v. Quill et al". United States Supreme Court.
  41. ^ Barone E (3 November 2014). "See Which States Allow Assisted Suicide". Time.
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  44. ^ Karlamangla S. "How California's aid-in-dying law will work". latimes.com. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
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  47. ^ Printz C (March 2015). "Death with dignity: young patient with brain tumor puts a face on the right-to-die movement". Cancer. 121 (5): 641–3. doi:10.1002/cncr.29283. PMID 25703858.

Further reading

A Right to Die

A Right to Die is a Nero Wolfe detective novel by Rex Stout, first published by the Viking Press in 1964.

Assisted suicide

Assisted suicide is suicide undertaken with the aid of another person. The term refers to physician-assisted suicide (PAS), which is suicide that is assisted by a physician or other healthcare provider. Once it is determined that the person's situation qualifies under the assisted suicide laws for that place, the physician's assistance is usually limited to writing a prescription for a lethal dose of drugs.

In many jurisdictions, helping a person die by suicide is a crime. People who support legalizing assisted suicide want the people who assist in a voluntary suicide to be exempt from criminal prosecution for manslaughter or similar crimes. Assisted suicide is legal in some countries, under certain circumstances, including Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Colombia, Switzerland, and parts of the United States and Australia. In most of those countries, to qualify for legal assistance, people who want to use the assisted-suicide model to die must meet certain criteria, including having a terminal illness, proving they are of sound mind, voluntarily and repeatedly expressing their wish to die, and taking a specified, lethal dose of drugs themselves.

CSI (novels)

The CSI novels are novels that tie-in with the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, and CSI: NY television shows. They have been published from 2001 to the present.

They are all released by Pocket Books and have been written by a range of notable authors including Max Allan Collins (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation), Donn Cortez (CSI: Miami), and Stuart M. Kaminsky (CSI: NY).

Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health

Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, 497 U.S. 261 (1990), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case involving a young adult incompetent. The first "right to die" case ever heard by the Court, Cruzan was argued on December 6, 1989 and decided on June 25, 1990. In a 5–4 decision, the Court affirmed the earlier ruling of the Supreme Court of Missouri and ruled in favor of the State of Missouri, finding it was acceptable to require "clear and convincing evidence" of a patient's wishes for removal of life support. A significant outcome of the case was the creation of advance health directives.

Derek Humphry

Derek Humphry (born 29 April 1930) is a British-born American journalist and author notable as a proponent of legal assisted suicide and the right to die philosophy. In 1980, he co-founded the Hemlock Society and, in 2004, after that organization dissolved, he co-founded the Final Exit Network. From 1988 to 1990, he was president of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies and is the current president of the Euthanasia Research & Guidance Organization (ERGO).He is the author several related books, including Jean's Way (1978), The Right to Die: Understanding Euthanasia (1986), and Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying (1991).

Since 1978, Derek Humphry has lived in the United States.

Diane Rehm

Diane Rehm (; born Diane Aed; September 21, 1936) is a retired American public radio talk show host. Her program, The Diane Rehm Show, was distributed nationally and internationally by National Public Radio. The show was produced at WAMU, which is licensed to American University in Washington, D.C.

Rehm had announced her plans to retire from hosting the show after the 2016 elections. The final program was recorded and distributed on December 23, 2016. Rehm announced she was going to host a weekly podcast, which she began doing in January 2017. A new program produced by WAMU, titled 1A, will play in the vacated timeslot.The Washington Post describes Rehm as a leading voice in the right to die debate.

Dignitas (Swiss non-profit organisation)

Dignitas is a Swiss non-profit members' society providing assisted/accompanied suicide to those members of the organisation who suffer from terminal illness and/or severe physical and/or mental illnesses, supported by (of the organization independent) qualified Swiss doctors. They have assisted over 2,100 people die at home within Switzerland and at Dignitas' house/flat near Zürich. Additionally, they do advisory work on palliative care, health care advance directive and suicide attempt prevention, and they have been leading and supporting numerous court cases and legislation projects for right-to-die laws around the world.Members of Dignitas who wish for an assisted suicide have to be of sound judgement, themselves able to do the last act which brings about death, and submit a formal request including a letter explaining their wish to die and most of all medical reports showing diagnosis and treatments tried. For people with severe psychiatric illnesses, additionally, an in-depth medical report prepared by a psychiatrist that establishes the patient's condition, is required as per a Swiss Supreme Court decision.

Final Exit

Final Exit (fully titled Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying) is a 1991 book written by Derek Humphry, a British-born American journalist, author, and assisted suicide advocate who co-founded the now-defunct Hemlock Society in 1980 and co-founded the Final Exit Network in 2004. The book was first published in 1991 by Dell Publishing under the name Dell Trade. The current edition was published in 2010.The book, often described as a "suicide manual", describes the means that the terminally ill may use to end their lives. The book further outlines relevant laws, techniques, and living wills. Final Exit was perceived as controversial, and the book drove debate regarding the right to die. Another concern was that people who were mentally ill could use the information found in the book to end their lives. Despite the controversy, Final Exit reached #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list in August.Final Exit Network claims that approximately 750,000 copies have been sold in the United States and Canada and approximately 500,000 elsewhere. The book is banned in France. Final Exit is Derek Humphry’s third book on the subject of self-euthanasia; it was preceded by Jean's Way (1978) and The Right to Die: Understanding Euthanasia (1986)

Final Exit Network

Final Exit Network, Inc. (FEN) is an American 501(c)(3) nonprofit right to die incorporated under Florida law. It holds that mentally competent adults who suffer from terminal illnesses, intractable pain, or irreversible physical (though not necessarily terminal) conditions have a right to voluntarily end their lives. In cases deemed valid, the Final Exit Network arranges what it refers to as "self-deliverances". Typically, the network assigns two "exit guides" to a client and are present when they die, but the network states, and has proven in court, that it does not provide physical assistance in anyone's death; rather, their role is that of compassionate advisors and witnesses.

Final Exit Network was founded in 2004 by former members of the Hemlock Society, including that organization's co-founders, Derek Humphry and Dr. Faye Girsh. It was named after Humphry's 1991 book of the same name. It is a member of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies.The organization has occasionally been the subject of controversy and criticism due to its methodology, It favors the inhalation of inert gasses such as helium or nitrogen in conjunction with an "exit hood".Final Exit Network and individual members have been prosecuted in Arizona, Georgia, and Minnesota. The defenses have largely centered around what constitutes aiding or assisting in suicides. The defendants conceded that while volunteer exit guides give their clients information about how to ensure a swift, pain free death, they do not physically take part in the suicides, and they alleged that prohibitions against informing clients how to take their lives is a violation of the free speech clause in the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights. The Minnesota case resulted in the first and only conviction of either Final Exit Network or any of its personnel; they corporation was ordered to pay in excess of $30,000 in fines and restitution. The Minnesota Court of Appeal affirmed the corporation's conviction and in October 2017, the United States Supreme Court declined to review the case.

Giovanni Nuvoli

Giovanni Nuvoli (Alghero, December 15, 1953 - Alghero, July 23, 2007) was an Italian former football referee who suffered of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis since 2001. With the help of Associazione Luca Coscioni, he fought for his right to die but his attempted euthanasia was blocked by the authorities on February 13, 2007. He started a hunger strike on July 16, 2007, and he subsequently died on July 23. The case sparked controversy in Italy, also because of its similarity to that of Piergiorgio Welby.

Hemlock Society

The Hemlock Society (sometimes called Hemlock Society USA) was an American right-to-die and assisted suicide advocacy organization which existed from 1980 to 2003. It was co-founded in Santa Monica, California by British author and activist Derek Humphry, his wife Ann Wickett Humphry (1942-1991), and Gerald A. Larue. It relocated to Oregon in 1988 and, according to Humphry, had several homes over its life. The group took its name from Conium maculatum, a highly poisonous biennial herbaceous flowering plant in the carrot family. The choice of the name is a direct reference to the method by which the Athenian philosopher Socrates took his life in 399 B.C. as described in Plato's Phaedo. It is not a firsthand account; the alleged event was told to Plato by one of Socrates' students, Phaedo of Elis.

The Hemlock Society's primary missions included providing information to the dying and supporting legislation permitting physician-assisted suicide. Its motto was "Good Life, Good Death". In 2003, the national organization renamed itself End of Life Choices. In 2007, they merged with the Compassion in Dying Federation to become Compassion & Choices. In 2004, some former members of the Hemlock Society, notably Derek Humphry and Faye Girsh, founded the Final Exit Network. It took its name from Humphry's 1991 book of the same name.Several local and state organizations have adopted and retain the Hemlock Society name, including Florida and San Diego, California. Others, such as the Hemlock Society of Illinois (now Final Options Illinois) have changed their names.

Jack Kevorkian

Jack Kevorkian (Armenian: Հակոբ Գեվորգյան Hakob Gevorgyan; ; May 26, 1928 – June 3, 2011) was an American pathologist and euthanasia proponent. He is best known for publicly championing a terminal patient's right to die by physician-assisted suicide; he claimed to have assisted at least 130 patients to that end. He was often portrayed in the media with the name of "Dr. Death". There was support for his cause, and he helped set the platform for reform. He said, "Dying is not a crime".In 1999, Kevorkian was arrested and tried for his direct role in a case of voluntary euthanasia. He was convicted of second-degree murder and served 8 years of a 10-to-25-year prison sentence. He was released on parole on June 1, 2007, on condition he would not offer advice nor participate nor be present in the act of any type of suicide involving euthanasia to any other person; as well as neither promote nor talk about the procedure of assisted suicide.

Karen Ann Quinlan

Karen Ann Quinlan (March 29, 1954 – June 11, 1985) was an American woman who became an important figure in the history of the right to die controversy in the United States.

When she was 21, Quinlan became unconscious after she consumed Valium along with alcohol while on a crash diet and lapsed into a coma, followed by a persistent vegetative state. After doctors, under threat from prosecutors, refused the request of her parents, Joseph and Julia Quinlan, to disconnect Quinlan's respirator, which the parents believed constituted extraordinary means of prolonging her life, her parents filed suit to disconnect Quinlan from her ventilator.

Quinlan's case continues to raise important questions in moral theology, bioethics, euthanasia, legal guardianship and civil rights. Her case has affected the practice of medicine and law around the world. A significant outcome of her case was the development of formal ethics committees in hospitals, nursing homes and hospices.

Raquel Welch

Raquel Welch (born Jo Raquel Tejada; September 5, 1940) is an American actress and singer.

She first won attention for her role in Fantastic Voyage (1966), after which she won a contract with 20th Century Fox. They lent her contract to the British studio Hammer Film Productions, for whom she made One Million Years B.C. (1966). Despite having only three lines of dialogue in the film, images of her in the doe-skin bikini which she wore became best-selling posters that turned her into an international sex symbol. She later starred in notable films including Bedazzled (1967), Bandolero! (1968), 100 Rifles (1969), Myra Breckinridge (1970) and Hannie Caulder (1971). She made several television variety specials.

Welch's unique film persona made her an icon of the 1960s and 1970s, due to her portrayal of strong female characters and breaking the mold of the submissive sex symbol. Because of this, her rise to stardom in the mid 1960s was partly credited with ending Hollywood's vigorous promotion of the blonde bombshell. She won a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical or Comedy in 1974 for her performance in The Three Musketeers. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in Television Film for her performance in the film Right to Die (1987). In 1995, Welch was chosen by Empire magazine as one of the "100 Sexiest Stars in Film History". Playboy ranked Welch No. 3 on their "100 Sexiest Stars of the Twentieth Century" list. In 2011, Men's Health ranked her No. 2 in its "Hottest Women of All Time" list.

Right to Die?

Right to Die? is a documentary aired on Sky Real Lives in December 2008 (rebroadcast on PBS on 2 March 2010 as "The Suicide Tourist") about the assisted suicide of Craig Colby Ewert (1947–2006), a 59-year-old retired university professor who suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic laterals sclerosis). Oscar-winning Canadian John Zaritsky directed and produced the film. Right to Die? had been previously shown on Canadian and Swiss television and at film festivals without controversy.

Ewert, who lived in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England where assisted suicide is punishable by 14 years in jail, travelled to Switzerland where he was assisted by the Dignitas NGO at a rented Zurich apartment. The documentary, which covers the last four days of life, shows him dying on 26 September 2006 with Mary, his wife of 37 years, at his side. An employee of the Swiss clinic, Dignitas, can be seen preparing a lethal dose of barbiturates on camera, following which Ewert drinks it and dies. He died listening to Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. Ewert's children, Ivan and Katrina, who live in the US, decided not to attend their father's death after he expressed concerns that they would become upset.

Right to Die (Masters of Horror)

"Right to Die" is the ninth episode of the second season from Masters of Horror directed by Rob Schmidt.

Right to Die (film)

Right to Die is a 1987 television film directed by Paul Wendkos that explored issues relating to the Right to Die movement.Raquel Welch was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1988 for her performance as Emily Bauer, a psychologist diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease who comes to desire her own death as her disease progresses. Michael Gross co-starred as her husband, Bob.

Raquel Welch later said it was one of the films of which she was most proud.Filming took place in May–June 1987.

Suicide bag

A suicide bag, also known as an exit bag or hood, is a euthanasia device consisting of a large plastic bag with a drawcord used to commit suicide through inert gas asphyxiation. It is usually used in conjunction with a flow of an inert gas like helium or nitrogen, which prevents the panic, sense of suffocation and struggling before unconsciousness, known as the hypercapnic alarm response caused by the presence of high carbon dioxide concentrations in the blood. This method also makes the direct cause of death difficult to trace if the bag and gas canister are removed before the death is reported.Suicide bags were first used during the 1990s. The method was mainly developed in North America.

Terri Schiavo case

The Terri Schiavo case was a right-to-die, legal case in the United States from 1990 to 2005, involving Theresa Marie Schiavo (; December 3, 1963 – March 31, 2005), a woman in an irreversible persistent vegetative state. Schiavo's husband and legal guardian argued that Schiavo would not have wanted prolonged artificial life support without the prospect of recovery, and elected to remove her feeding tube. Schiavo's parents disputed her husband's assertions and challenged Schiavo's medical diagnosis, arguing in favor of continuing artificial nutrition and hydration. The highly publicized and prolonged series of legal challenges presented by her parents, which ultimately involved state and federal politicians up to the level of President George W. Bush, caused a seven-year delay before Schiavo's feeding tube was ultimately removed.On February 25, 1990, at age 26, Schiavo sustained a cardiac arrest at her home in St. Petersburg, Florida. She was successfully resuscitated, but had massive brain damage due to lack of oxygen to her brain and was left comatose. After two and a half months without improvement, her diagnosis was changed to that of a persistent vegetative state. For the next two years, doctors attempted speech and physical therapy and other experimental therapy, hoping to return her to a state of awareness, without success. In 1998, Schiavo's husband, Michael, petitioned the Sixth Circuit Court of Florida to remove her feeding tube pursuant to Florida law. He was opposed by Terri's parents, Robert and Mary Schindler. The court determined that Schiavo would not have wished to continue life-prolonging measures, and on April 24, 2001, her feeding tube was removed for the first time, only to be reinserted several days later. On February 25, 2005, a Pinellas County judge again ordered the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. Several appeals and federal government intervention followed, which included U.S. President George W. Bush returning to Washington D.C. to sign legislation moving the case to the federal courts. After appeals through the federal court system that upheld the original decision to remove the feeding tube, staff at the Pinellas Park hospice facility disconnected the feeding tube on March 18, 2005, and Schiavo died on March 31, 2005.The Schiavo case involved 14 appeals and numerous motions, petitions, and hearings in the Florida courts; five suits in federal district court; extensive political intervention at the levels of the Florida state legislature, Governor Jeb Bush, the U.S. Congress, and President George W. Bush; and four denials of certiorari from the Supreme Court of the United States. The case also spurred highly visible activism from the pro-life movement, the right-to-die movement, and disability rights groups. Since Schiavo's death, both her husband and her family have written books on their sides of the case, and both have also been involved in activism over its larger issues.

Substantive human rights
Civil and political
Sexual and
War and conflict
Suicide crisis
Social aspects
Suicide types
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