In 2001, the Netherlands passed the world's first national law allowing euthanasia.
Oregon passed the only such law in the U.S., the Death with Dignity Act, in 1994.
I am a staunch supporter of euthanasia.
For many people, especially the elderly, life persists long after quality of life is gone; the problem is exacerbated by the advances of modern medicine, which focus on prolonging life without consideration for the kind of life the patient will live.
I watched my father over the last three years of his life. He suffered from emphysema and Parkinson's disease, was confined to bed in a nursing home, where his life comprised meals and starting all day at a blaring television screen. I see my mother with an advancing case of Alzheimer's; what kind of life will she have when she can no longer remember where she is, who her friends and children are?
I understand that permitting euthanasia can put us on a slippery ethical slope. However, the Oregon experience demonstrates that euthanasia laws can be written in such a way as to prevent abuse.
Let us evolve as a society to where we take a humane view of terminal illness and debilitated old age. Let our view of morality evolve past the notion that life must be preserved at any cost, and allow us to show mercy and compassion to those who no longer live but merely exist, or who experience pain and suffering with no hope of any outcome but a terminal one.