The word euthanasia is derived from the Greek word eu for good and thantos which means death and originally referred to intentional mercy killing. But the word it euthanasia has acquired a more complex meaning in modern times. Proponents of euthanasia believe that a dying patient has the right to end their suffering and leave the world in a dignified manner. Those who contest euthanasia believe that man does not have the right to end another person's life no matter what pain they endure. Euthanasia is one of the most important public policy issues being debated today. The outcome of debate will profoundly affect family relationships, interaction between doctors and patients, and concepts of basic morality. The word euthanasia has acquired a complex meaning in modern times. There are several types of euthanasia and one must define them in order to avoid confusion. Passive euthanasia is the process of hastening the death of a person by withdrawing some form of support and letting nature take its course. Such a act would include removing life-support equipment, stopping medical procedures, stopping food and water and allowing the person to die. Active euthanasia involves causing the death of a person through a direct action in response to request from that person. This is also called mercy killing. Physician assisted suicide is the process of a physician supplying information and or the means of committing suicide to a patient. This would include writing a prescription for a lethal dose of sleeping pills or providing the patient with carbon monoxide gas. Euthanasia has been practiced in some form or another by many societies in our history. In ancient Greece and Rome helping others to die our putting them to death was considered permissible in some situations. In the Greek city of Sparta all newborns with severe birth defects were left to die. Voluntary euthanasia for the elderly was approved custom in several ancient societies.