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A dying man needs to die as a sleepy man needs to sleep and there comes a time when it is wrong as well as useless to resist-Steward Alsop Stay of ExecutionEuthanasia has become an issue of increasing attention because of Dr Jack Kevorkians assisted suicides As of October 21 Kevorkian has assisted in nineteen suicides Because of the increasing number of suicides in Michigan Gov Engler signed an anti-suicide law in late February that made doctor-assisted suicides a felony During the 21-month trial period of the new law anyone assisting in a suicide can be sentenced to up to four years in prison and fined more than 2000 Reuters 1993With the passing of this law I thought that most people would be against the right-to-die not so In a poll cited in a 1991 issue of USA Today eighty percent of Americans think sometimes there are circumstances when a patient should be allowed to die compared to only fifteen percent think doctors and nurses should always do everything possible to save a persons life It also showed that eight in ten adults approve of state laws that allow medical care for the terminally ill to be removed or withheld if that is what the patient wishes whereas only thirteen percent disapproved of the laws Also seventy percent think the family should be allowed to make the decision about treatment on behalf of the patient while another five percent think this is suitable only in some cases Colasnto 1991 p 62The results on mercy killing surprised me even more Seventy percent think it is justified at least sometimes for a person to kill his or her spouse if he or she is suffering terrible pain caused by a terminal illness Even suicide is starting to be accepted About half the public thinks a moral right to suicide exists if a person has an incurable disease or is suffering great pain with no hope of recovering
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