Committing suicide or attempting to commit suicide is no longer a criminal offense in the United States. However, assisting another person to commit suicide remains a criminal act with the exception of Oregon. Physician assisted suicide questions whether one person should commit suicide and whether another person should be permitted to help. With correct procedures and safeguards, a dying person should be allowed to decide if euthanasia is the best choice to end of his or her own life (Boyer).
The word euthanasia originated from the Greek language with "eu" meaning "good" and "thanatos" which means "death". The word today means many different things: passive euthanasia, active euthanasia, involuntary euthanasia, and physician assisted suicide. Passive euthanasia is the act of hastening the death of a person by removing life support, stopping food and water, stopping medications, and letting nature take its course. Active euthanasia involves the causing of death to another person, usually by lethal injection. Involuntary euthanasia is used to describe the killing of a person who may not have requested aid in dying. This is usually the case with a patient who is in a "Persistent Vegetative State" and would not recover to a somewhat normal life. Finally, physician assisted suicide is the act of helping one commit suicide by giving them the .
information to do so, and or the means for one to end their own life (Robins). The debate whether physician assisted suicide should be legalized is not likely to be resolved in the near future, but with assisted suicide being legal in Oregon, the issue will definitely be studied and tested (Leone 15).
In ancient times, assisted suicide was seen as a way to keep one's honor, but for the past twenty-five years, assisted suicide is related to the progress of modern medicine (13). In Athens, judges kept poison for anyone who wanted to die, and all that was needed was official permission.