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Abstract

Public opinion polls conducted from 1936 to 2002 found that Americans support both euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Although public opinion regarding end-oflife decisions appears to have been influenced by the events of the times, Americans have consistently favored the freedom to end one's life when the perceived quality of life has significantly diminished, either by one's own hand or with the assistance of a physician. This paper indicates that existing policy regarding euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide conflicts with the American public's attitudes regarding the matter, as well as examines implications for social workers who serve clients facing end-of-life decisions.

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