The surrounding assisted suicide and legal euthanasia exist in

The topic of assisted suicide and legal euthanasia has become a current issue that concerns many people in today’s society. These procedures seem almost identical at first, but further research reveals key differences between them. Assisted suicide is the legal process of one ending their own life, in the presence of a doctor, and they are the one doing the act that kills them. Alternatively, legal euthanasia is the act of a doctor or medical professional legally ending someone’s life, with the obvious permission of the patient. Various laws surrounding assisted suicide and legal euthanasia exist in the United States and other countries. The laws differ depending on which act is being performed and in which country or state it is being done. The purpose of this investigation is to determine the types of laws which exist and if there is a need for change in existing legislation.
In the United States, laws and rules surrounding assisted suicide and legal euthanasia are much more strict than other countries. There are currently seven states in which assisted suicide is legal; Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California, Colorado, and Washington D.C. In 1994, Oregon became the first state to legalize assisted suicide. This law only allowed terminally ill, mentally competent patients, with less than six months to live to request a prescription for life ending medication. Although states were now in favor of legalizing assisted suicide, the federal government still was not. In 1998, the Supreme Court ruled that American citizens do not have the constitutional right to die in the case of Washington v. Glucksberg and Vacco v. Quill. The court ruling of this case was a setback in the progression of passing assisted suicide related laws, and the legalities became more complicated when Jack Kevorkian, M.D., shows a tape of him performing a lethal injection on a patient with Lou Gehrig’s disease on the television program, 60 Minutes. Although many Americans who saw the 60 Minutes segment were impressed and intrigued by the operation, the government and medical board disapproved of Dr. Kevorkian performing this on national television, and he was later arrested for murder. This event further showed how controversial the new procedure of assisted suicide was within the medical community. After Oregon passed their state law, Washington (in 2008), and Montana (in 2009), both passed laws modeled after it. In 2013, assisted suicide was deemed as a constitutional right by a Vermont Senator, making the practice now legal in Vermont. In 2015, California legislators passed the End of Life Options Act, leading California to become the fifth state to legalize assisted suicide. Both Colorado and Washington D.C. passed the Death with Dignity Act in 2016, finalizing them as the two final states to date that have legal practices of assisted suicide. 
In all seven areas in the United States, most of the circumstances to qualify for assisted suicide are the same. Patients wanting to end their own lives with the help of a doctor or medical professional must be above the age of eighteen, be a resident of the state, and be within six months of their life expectancy. The only state with differing terms is Montana. In Montana, one must still be a resident of the state, but there is no minimum age requirement or a time frame in which their natural death is predicted. There is also an act in progress, the “Model Aid-in-Dying Act” that will allow doctors and licensed medical professionals to terminate the lives of children (any minor under the age of eighteen) who are in unbearable pain. The only requirements for this potential law is that the child himself has to request for the procedure to be done, or at parental request, if the child if under the age of six. The woman behind this law is Cheryl K. Smith, who helped write the original draft of the Oregon law that legalized assisted suicide. This new act will benefit children who suffer from terminal illnesses like Leukemia or Bone Marrow Cancer. Thus far in the law passing progress, there are no restrictions about which states this law will be effective in. 
In addition to restrictions as to which patients can end their lives by the assisted suicide procedure, there are also conditions for which physicians in the United States are able to administer the poisonous medicine or a lethal injection. Doctors wanting to help and give relief to people coming in requesting an assisted suicide procedure must confirm that the patient in question is a resident of the state and that their age is in alignment for the requirements for their respective state. In addition to these terms, the physician must refer the patient to a licensed mental health professional, notify the patients next of kin of their decision (if the next of kin is not already aware), and inform the patient that when the patient is taking the medication, or receiving the injection, another person must be present. The person present is preferably the next of kin relative that was previously informed of their decision to end their life, but it is not required to be the same person. 
Assisted suicide and legal euthanasia are also legal in certain countries other than the United States across the globe. The requirements for eligibility and treatment methods are slightly different than the United States’, but they are still similar. There are only four countries where euthanasia is legal across the world, but there are seven countries where physician assisted suicide is legal. The four countries that have legalized human euthanasia are Belgium, Colombia, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands. The seven countries where physician assisted suicide is legal are Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, and Switzerland. These countries all have their own individual different policies and legalities for legal euthanasia and assisted suicide.
In Belgium, only legal euthanasia is legal. This country requires the physician to be with the patient while he or she takes his or her last breath, and does not specify the method of euthanasia to be used. A majority of legal euthanasia cases in Belgium deal with the elderly. Belgium also became the first country to legalize euthanasia for children by method of lethal injection who are conscious of their request, terminally ill, close to death, and suffering beyond any medical help. Parental agreement is also needed. Although this service is legal in Belgium, there has been no cases thus far.