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Can I end my own life if I am suffering? Numerous states (including Colorado, Washington,
Oregon, California, Vermont, and Montana) have approved propositions that make it legal to help
terminally ill patients end their own lives. While in other states, those who know death is
inevitable often go through a lengthy and painful process of dying (as in the Natalie Newton case
in Texas). Legal, medical, and ethical debates have surrounded the right to die for decades.
Consider how the coded beliefs in our society – both inside and outside of medicine – impact
these decisions and the law governing them. Should a person be in control of how and when their
lives end and what role should physicians play?