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Design for Dying Historical Context

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The 1990s witnessed the popularization of the right-to-die movement, the movement seeking the right to doctor-assisted suicide for the terminally ill, and support for euthanasia. Oregon has been the national focal point of the debate. In 1980, Derek Humphry founded the Hemlock Society in Eugene, Oregon. The group has grown to be the oldest and largest right-to-die organization in the United States. Humphry is the author of the popular book Final Exit, a primer on self-euthanasia (what Humphry calls "self-deliverance"), including the thirteen steps for using a plastic bag to kill oneself. In 1994, Oregon became the first state to vote into law a measure guaranteeing the right to doctor-assisted suicide, passing it with 51 percent support.

From the beginning, opponents of physician-assisted suicide measures and bills argued on religious, philosophical, and legal terms against such a right. Many of these arguments turn on the idea that those with terminal illnesses...

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This section contains 464 words
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Design for Dying from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.