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Death with dignity: press kit

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  1. The Need to Legislate on Assisted Suicide
  2. Articles and Summary
    1. Gordon Brown Signals His Opposition to Assisted Suicide
    2. Assisted Suicide Pact
    3. Final Exit: Compassion or Assisted Suicide?
    4. Public in Strong Backing For Right to Assisted Suicide
  3. Commentary

The term euthanasia is derived from the Greek words eu, meaning 'good' and thanatos, meaning 'death'. However, the issue of assisted suicide is far from being pleasant. The expression "assisted suicide" refers to the deliberate speeding up of the death process of a terminally ill patient with the assistance of a doctor, a family member or any other individual. Generally the terms "aid in dying" or "death with dignity" are preferred to "assisted suicide", since suicide remains illegal in certain countries, but also because it is generally conceived to be more politically correct to speak about dignity or aid than about suicide. The word "euthanasia" should only be used when referring to an act performed by another person than the patient. In a case of assisted suicide the patient is helped, assisted, supported whereas in a case of euthanasia the patient cannot commit suicide by himself. Besides the semantic issues, aid in dying is currently subjected to ethical, judicial, political, societal and medical issues. Very few developed countries, more precisely medically favored countries, have raised the issue of assisted suicide or have chosen a clear position in the debate. Poor countries, on the other hand, are often less concerned because they lack the medical means to practice any form of aid in dying and the eventual case of euthanasia does not echo throughout this society.

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