Taking one’s own life through ritual suicide has never been popular in the United States because of religious and other prohibitions. In other cultures, such as Japan, suicide is viewed as an honorable way to die under certain circumstances. Asian Americans have the highest suicide rate in the US, and their suicide notes are likely to reveal that they considered themselves a burden on their families,” (Pascual, 2010 in Kail & Cavanaugh, 2016, p. 557).

In 1984, the Dutch Supreme Court eliminated prosecution of physicians who assist in suicide if five criteria are met:

The patient’s condition is intolerable with no hope for improvement.
No relief is available.
The patient is competent.
The patient makes a request repeatedly over time.
Two physicians have reviewed the case and agree with the patient’s request.
(Deutsch, 2001 in Kail & Cavanaugh, 2016, p. 557).

Discussion questions:

Do you think people have a right to die if they are in great pain and diagnosed with a terminal illness?
What is the difference between euthanasia and physician assisted suicide?
Should euthanasia be legal or illegal?
Should physician-assisted suicide be legal or illegal?

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