A new study, conducted by Gallup, found that Americans have a strong opinion on the practice termed “death with dignity.” A firm 69 percent of respondents said that euthanasia is acceptable and should be legal.
This has been the general consensus for decades.
Fewer participants favored the procedure as an option for themselves. Just 51 percent said they would consider doctor-assisted suicide if faced with a terminal illness. And a slim majority of 53 percent considers the practice moral.
While the subject rarely makes its way into American political discourse, it has reached several flash points such as the contentious 2005 case in Florida surrounding Terri Schiavo, whose husband battled to remove life support due to her irreversible vegetative condition.
Starting with Oregon in 1997, four states have passed legislation permitting doctor-assisted suicide, including Washington, Vermont and most recently California. Patients in these states who are terminally-ill and at least 18 years old may request to be prescribed life-ending medication.
During a CNN town hall event in February, Hillary Clinton was stumped by a question regarding doctor-assisted suicide from a frail, cancer-stricken audience member. The man asked for the former first lady’s position on legalizing euthanasia for terminally-ill patients. After stumbling around the question, Clinton responded, “I don’t have any easy or glib answer for you,” claiming that she needed to do more research.