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Survey reveals U.S. still split over right-to-die, PAS
More support right to die than support MDs helping
In the 10 years since Oregon passed its physician-assisted suicide (PAS) law, Americans have become more familiar with the idea of doctors assisting patients who wish to be allowed — or helped — to die. But though they're familiar with it, the population is divided over whether PAS should be legal.
Just days before Jack Kevorkian, a former physician, was released from prison in Michigan after serving eight years for murder for providing an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patient with the drugs he used to kill himself, the Associated Press (AP) released a survey report indicating that two-thirds of those surveyed believe there are times when patients should be allowed to die, but far fewer agree that doctors should help them die.
The AP/Ipsos survey also touched on the public's opinion of Kevorkian's conviction. Just over half (53%) said he should not have been jailed.
Other questions posed by the survey were:
PAS legislation has been proposed and defeated in the legislatures of Washington, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Hawaii. California has a bill moving through its legislature (as of May 2007), but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has indicated his preference would be to put the measure to a ballot vote. Voters have turned down such legislation before in California, as well as in Michigan, Maine, and Washington.
The AP/Ipsos survey polled 1,000 randomly chosen adults who answered the questions by phone. The survey questions and results are available at www.ap-ipsosresults.com.