Courtesy of The Economist | 07.29.2015 | By N.L.

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THOSE who are terminally ill have long sought help to end their lives from friends or doctors. When a doctor is involved, it is called physician- or doctor-assisted suicide. This is legal only in a few places: Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland have laws governing the practice, as do five American states. (Attempts to allow it in New Mexico remain stuck in legal limbo for now.) Belgium and the Netherlands also allow voluntary euthanasia, where the doctor administers the fatal medicine at the patient’s request, rather than leaving the patient to take it. Doctor-assisted dying is an umbrella term for both. (Physician-assisted dying and medically assisted dying are also used.) In California, a bill approving doctor-assisted suicide passed the senate earlier this month. If it is approved by the state assembly and signed by the governor before September 11th, a form of doctor-assisted dying will become legal in one of the most populous states, home to 40m people. Continue Reading