Assisted suicide, also known as assisted dying or medical aid in dying, is suicide undertaken with the aid of another person. The term usually refers to physician-assisted suicide (PAS), which is suicide that is assisted by a physician or other healthcare provider. Once it is determined that the person's situation qualifies under the physician-assisted suicide laws for that place, the physician's assistance is usually limited to writing a prescription for a lethal dose of drugs.
In many jurisdictions, helping a person die by suicide is a crime. People who support legalizing physician-assisted suicide want the people who assist in a voluntary death to be exempt from criminal prosecution for manslaughter or similar crimes. Physician-assisted suicide is legal in some countries, under certain circumstances, including Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and parts of the United States (California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Washington State and Washington, D.C.) and Australia (Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia). The Constitutional Courts of Austria, Colombia, Germany and Italy legalized assisted suicide, but their governments have not legislated or regulated the practice yet. New Zealand legalized assisted suicide in a referendum in 2020, but it will come into force on 6 November 2021. The parliament of Portugal passed the legalization of assisted suicide, but is now under consideration of the Constitutional Court.
In most of those states or countries, to qualify for legal assistance, individuals who seek a physician-assisted suicide must meet certain criteria, including: having a terminal illness, proving they are of sound mind, voluntarily and repeatedly expressing their wish to die, and taking the specified, lethal dose by their own hand.