Assisted suicide: Mercy or Malpractice?

Maine has recently become the eighth state in the country to legalize assisted suicide. The new law allows doctors to prescribe a fatal dose of medication to patients who are expected to die within six months. Oregon was the first state in the U.S. to legalize assisted suicide — frequently called "aid in dying" — in 1997. Advocates for assisted suicide see it as form of mercy that spares a terminally ill person from what is often a prolonged and painful natural death. They also argue that patients should have the ultimate say over how their lives end. Opponents believe there is a risk of people being manipulated into choosing assisted suicide, either by family members or insurance companies. The American Medical Association says the practice is "fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer." And several religious traditions forbid assisted suicide in all cases.