The word euthanasia comes from a Greek phrase meaning "good death-; identified by David Cundiff in his book Euthanasia is not the answer (1). Many years ago euthanasia was something unacceptable for society, but now a days euthanasia should be legalized.
In recent years there has been a growing movement toward the legalization of euthanasia in the United States. In historic election held on November 5, 1991, voters in the State of Washington decided not to legalize euthanasia for consenting, terminally ill patients by voting down Initiative 119 (Cundiff 1-2). This initiative would have allowed physicians to carry out euthanasia by administering lethal drug overdoses to those terminally ill patients who requested it. .
"Assisted suicide- is another term that is similar to euthanasia. Assisted suicide means to provide a person who plans to kill himself/herself with the means to do so. This may be accomplished by supplying a lethal overdose of medication, by providing a gun, or by other means (2). Initiative 119 also would have legalized physician-assisted suicide. Currently in the US, except in Michigan, assisting suicide is a crime (2).
There are two different types of euthanasia: "active euthanasia- and "passive euthanasia."" Active euthanasia is when the person is killed for mercy. Passive euthanasia is when the terminally ill person is allowed to die naturally of the disease by stopping medical treatments.
The Choice in Dying organization, formerly known as the Concern for Dying and the Society for the Right to Die, beautifully expresses the essence of the right-to-die movement in its brochure: "The Society for the Right to Die- believes that the basic rights of self-determination and of privacy include the right to control decisions relating to one's own medical care. It opposes the use of medical procedures, which serve to prolong the dying process needlessly, thereby causing unnecessary pain and suffering, and loss of dignity.