The Polls: Changing Attitudes Toward Euthanasia.

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    • Abstract:
      This article focuses on changing attitudes toward euthanasia. The "politics" of euthanasia has been developing apace. The Euthanasia Society, recently renamed Concern for Dying, grew rapidly during the 1970s. Although it has no membership as such, its growth can perhaps be measured by its mailing list, which expanded from 10,000 in 1967 to 160,000 by August 1979. The second major national organization, the Euthanasia Educational Council, grew from 600 members to 30,000 from 1969 to 1974, according to the New York Times. Congressional hearings on "death with dignity" have been published. Most significant, some relevant laws have been enacted. Although these actions have occurred only at the state level, it is worth remembering that abortion liberalization also began that way. Poll questions on euthanasia have varied between "passive" and "active" situations. These terms distinguish between merely allowing a person to die a more natural death by not using "heroic" measures of life support or resuscitation, and actually taking some step such as injecting air or administering some chemical to a terminal patient in order to hasten death.