5 facts about Americans’ views on life-and-death issues
From the morality of suicide to personal preferences for end-of-life care.
Timeline: Key Dates in the End-of-Life Debate
Issues surrounding the end of life have been debated since long before New York became the first state to explicitly outlaw assisted suicide in 1828. This timeline looks at major events on the topic in the U.S. since the 1960s.
Religious Groups’ Views on End-of-Life Issues
In these summaries, religious leaders, scholars and ethicists from 16 major American religious groups explain how their faith traditions’ teachings address physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia and other end-of-life questions.
To End Our Days
The Social, Legal and Political Dimensions of the End-of-Life Debate
Views on End-of-Life Medical Treatments
Most Americans say there are circumstances in which doctors and nurses should allow a patient to die, but a growing minority says medical professionals always should do everything possible to save a patient’s life.
Coping With End-of-Life Decisions
While most Americans approve of laws that say treatment can be stopped if that’s what a terminally ill patient desires, they are split on what they would do personally in that situation. Only 27% have put into writing their own wishes regarding end-of-life care.
The Right-to-Die Debate and the Tenth Anniversary of Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act
Similar measures considered in several other states have failed in the state legislature or at the ballot box, while polls show the country still divided on the issue.
Supreme Court’s Decision in Gonzales v. Oregon
The Pew Forum analyzes the Supreme Court’s January 17 decision that the 1970 Controlled Substances Act (CSA) does not give the U.S. attorney general the authority to prohibit Oregon doctors from prescribing lethal doses of drugs to certain terminally ill patients who want to end their own lives.