Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
     The word ‘euthanasia’ is derived from the Greek work for ‘good death’ and originally referred to intentional mercy killing.  Applied to our society, euthanasia is the merciful ending of life to release a person from unendurable pain and suffering, a terminal disease, or an undignified death.  The act of euthanasia can be active or passive as well as voluntary or involuntary.  An example of active euthanasia is when a doctor gives a patient a lethal dose of medicine.  Passive euthanasia is when measures to prevent death are not taken, like declining life support.  Voluntary euthanasia is when a person asks directly to die.  When a person is not competent to make decisions, for example in a coma, ending his/her life would be involuntary euthanasia.   Assisted suicide differs from euthanasia.  In assisted suicide, although another person (usually a doctor) is helping the patient, the patient must ultimately directly cause his/her own death.
     In the United States, voluntary passive euthanasia is generally accepted and legal.  However, active euthanasia is illegal.  Assisted suicide is only legal in Oregon, where the law allows physicians to prescribe a lethal dose of medicine that patients can take themselves.  Internationally, voluntary active euthanasia is only fully legal in the Netherlands and accounts for 2% of deaths in this country.
     Voluntary active euthanasia and assisted suicide are highly controversial topics.  The saga of Dr. Kevorkian exhibits the difference of opinion, lack of prudent legislature, and the ethical issues involved in assisted suicide.  Supporters, like Kevorkian, argue that the choice to die is a fundamental right of all people.  Legalizing assisted suicide in particular would allow appropriate patients to have a humane and comfortable death.  Opponents to the issue say that if voluntary active euthanasia and/or assisted suicide were legalized, medical professionals would be violating their oath not to harm their patients.  Furthermore, a sanction of this practice would open the door for misuse and abuse of euthanasia.  The moral and ethical issues of active voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide are currently hotly debated topics that question our right to die and a physician's right to aid in or perform an unnatural death.

 Voluntary Euthanasia (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
This web site is a rigorous examination of the philosophical, ethical issues surrounding euthanasia.  This site would be great to gather general, nonbiased information.

 Voluntary Euthanasia Society
This site is a large resource of information from both sides of the issue.  Also, the site has an easy to use search engine for finding specific information.

 Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide and Religion
This site explores the basics of euthanasia, public opinions and polls, religious beliefs, and current laws in the U.S. and abroad.  The section on religion includes  many western views (Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, etc.), but the only eastern religion represented is Islam.

 Killing, Karma, and Caring: Euthanasia in Buddhism and Christianity
This site is an essay which explores the stand of these two religions on euthanasia.  Interestingly, though the religions are very different, the general positions of both Buddhism and Christianity are relatively the same.

The Kevorkian Verdict (PBS)
This web site is a complete narration of Dr. Kevorkian's story.  Included in this web site are interviews with family members of Dr. Kevorkian's patients, a chronology of events, legal insights, and opinions of the public and other doctors.

 Pope John Paul II Declaration on Euthanasia
This site is the position stand of the Pope and the Catholic Church on the topic of euthanasia.

 Death Net
This site examines "the advancing art and science of dying well."  Death Net has current news updates, a student research center, a Kevorkian file, and the newest technology and methods.  This site is very supportive of the right-to-die, euthanasia, and assisted suicide.

 Constitutional Case Against Physician Assisted Death in Oregon
Since Oregon is the only state that allows physician assisted suicide, this site builds a case against the legalization.  The site illustrates an opposing position to physician assisted suicide with personal stories and legal precedence.

 Euthanasia in Holland
Holland (or the Netherlands) is the only country in the world where assisted suicide is legal.  This site explores the practice of euthanasia in Holland with the specific penal code and impleted regulations.

 A Time to Die: the Story of Noel David Earley
This is a personal look at the assisted suicide of Noel David Earley.  The 48 year old man suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis  and his death was videotaped.  It appeared on the evening news in 1994.  This site is supportive of the right-to-die.