Assisted suicide is a very controversial topic. Assisted suicide allows someone to take their own life with the assistance of someone else, such as a doctor. Assisted suicide occurs when someone helps a person with a terminal illness take their own life to avoid suffering.
Assisted suicide and euthanasia are two terms that are used interchangeably. However, there is a distinctly different. When a person is euthanized, another person takes action to end the other person’s life. With assisted suicide, the patient takes their own life, although another individual may provide the medication with which to do so.
Assisted suicide is controversial because it raises questions surrounding ethics and religious beliefs. People who believe that suicide is a sin due to their religion, for example, may be against assisted suicide, even if the terminally ill patient faces extreme pain and suffering.
In the United States, federal law allows states to make their own choices when it comes to assisted suicide. Because of its controversial nature, it comes as no surprise that assisted suicide is illegal in most states. However, there are a few states where it is legal. Assisted suicide is legal in Washington, D.C., plus the following states:
There are other states where legislation has been proposed, resolutions have been approved, or other steps have been taken to legalize assisted suicide. However, as of 2019, these votes and decisions are not legally binding. Those states include Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, and Tennessee.