Soul Search
Restless Round



Dalai Lama

Sri Ramakrishna

Swami Vivekananda

Madame Blavatsky

Ramana Maharshi

 Sri Aurobindo

 J. Krishnamurti 


Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Swami Chinmayananda

Dada Vaswani 

Sri Sri Ravishankar

 Swami Rama



Swami Chidanand

Mata Amritanandamayi

 Mata Nirmala Devi

P.S. Athavale 


Deepak Chopra




What Is Death
Death and Dying
Religious Views on Death & Dying
Hindu View of Death, Dying and the Afterlife
An Existential Understanding of Death
Near-death experience
Interesting Facts about Death
Famous Last Words
Inspirational Quotes
Depression May Hasten Death in Elderly
A Twentieth Century Chronology of Voluntary Euthanasia and Physician-assisted Suicide

Dirge Of Love

Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypres let me be laid;
Fly away, fly away, breath;
I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
O prepare it!
My part of death, no one so true
Did share it.

Not a flower, not a flower sweet,
On my black coffin let there be strown;
Not a friend, not a friend greet
My poor corse, where my bones shall be thrown:
A thousand thousand sighs to save,
Lay me, O, where
Sad true lover never find my grave
To weep there!

William Shakespeare

What Is Death


By Sri Swami Sivananda

Rebirth And Evolution Of Man

The question of rebirth, of life after death, has remained an enigma through the ages. Human knowledge is hardly capable of answering all the problems that life foreshadows, and as Gautama Buddha would say, “In this world of forms and illusions created by our senses according to our illusions, a man either is or is not, either lives or dies, but in the true and formless world this is not so, for all is otherwise than according to our knowledge, and if you ask, does a man live beyond death, I answer No, not in any sense comprehensible to the mind of man which itself dies at death, and if you ask, does a man altogether die at death, I answer No, for what dies is what belongs to this world of form and illusion.” more



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Death and Dying


The Transition Called Death: Each of us must ultimately confront our mortality. For Hindus, this is not a fearsome prospect. We know we have been born and died before, and karma and reincarnation make the inevitable seem natural. One saint consoled, "Death is like falling asleep, and birth is like waking from that sleep." Simple. Other sages speak of death joyously as release from bondage, as return to our Source. The soul, the Vedas declare, is immortal. Still, we are attached and must cope, find understanding that will make death acceptable. Our Insight this month speaks traditionally of this personal, exalted and potent experience crowning life.

Our faith guides our transition from this world, offering solace to the suffering and those facing the foreboding certainty of death.

"Lead me from darkness to light, from death to immortality." This famed Vedic prayer proclaims the human urge to survive, to conquer death and to know the joys of illuminated consciousness. People often pilgrimage to an isolated place in expectation of a vision, be it a jungle of fauna and foliage or cement and glass. Every person is on a vision quest. But for all souls, at the time of the great departure, mahaprasthana, a vision comes as a tunnel of light at the end of which are beings of divine nature. more

Religious Views on Death & Dying


An Overview of World Beliefs

Much of what we know and perceive about death and dying comes from our religious background. In fact, our attitudes about death are deeply connected with our views on religion. Whether or not we believe in a God or gods shapes how we view the afterlife or lack thereof. Our fear of death can either be compounded or eased by our religious outlook. If you believe in an angry God that punishes us for all trespasses, then death can be frightening. Believing that we all go to a better place after death, regardless of behavior, can cause apathy towards death.

There seems to be a sharp rift between Eastern and Western cultural views on Death. Mainly in the beliefs in and about "salvation", reincarnation, and the afterlife. Beyond this, big differences in attitude  can exist  within sects  or branches  of the same  religious tree -  causing  more confusion. more

Hindu View of Death, Dying and the Afterlife



Putting an end to our fears, classical Hindu metaphysics holds the answers to the universal questions about the "end of our life"

Death is the most fateful experience of each of our lives. But no Hindu really fears death, nor does he look forward to it. Death for the Hindu is merely transition, simultaneously an end and a new beginning. Over two thousand years ago Saint Tiruvalluvar wrote that "Death is like falling asleep, and birth is like awakening from that sleep." In one of the ancient languages of our religion, the physical body had a name which literally meant "that which is always dropping off." When key truths are understood and accepted about the nature of the soul and the cycles of birth, life, dying, death, afterlife and rebirth, all sense of foreboding and fear of death perish. Here we explore those realities. more



By Janet Chawla for life positive

'Let life unfold its wonders through women, let death find its peace through men' —
this seems to be the basis behind rituals related to birth and death in India

Open up, Earth; do not crush him.
Be easy for him to enter and to burrow in.
Earth, wrap him up as a mother
Wraps a son in the edge of her skirt.

Rig Vedic Burial Hymn (X.18)
At the time of childbirth, the deepest values, cherished beliefs and body-spirit knowledge of a community is reflected in the way it handles the slippery wet newborn and the exhausted mother. more

An Existential Understanding of Death


A Phenomenology of Ontological Anxiety

The 'fear of death' is a composite experience encompassing:
(1) the abstract, objective, external, empirical fact of biological death;
(2) our personal, subjective, emotional fear of ceasing-to-be
—which arises from our awareness of our own finitude, and
(3) our ownmost ontological anxiety
—our Existential Predicament disguised as the fear of ceasing-to-be.
This least understood and most repressed existential dimension of death  will be the central focus of this phenomenological investigation.

    Whenever "death" is mentioned, we think first of biological death, but this tendency to focus exclusively on the objective, terminal fact of dying may well be a trick of thought designed to protect us  from noticing our fear of ceasing-to-be or our even deeper ontological anxiety. We have other protective techniques as well: religious illusions, philosophical desensitization, and diversionary small-talk. Most of these distracting ploys amount to seeing death exclusively as an objective event, which befalls all living organisms eventually.
Somehow we must reverse this tendency to obscure, evade, and deny the deeper dimensions of death. more  :


Near-death experience


Near-death experience links
The best on the internet

A number of near-death accounts involve the experiencer seeing a "web" of light some form of connection of light that exists above the whole earth and called various things such as: a grid, a net, a web, a cosmic axis, a matrix. Here are some experiences that describe it: (01), (02), (03), (04). From this information, I theorize that the internet is the physical representation of this invisible spiritual "web" that exists around the globe. The internet represents "virtual reality," a reality that exists based in another dimension. Near-death accounts are very similar to virtual reality because all things are possible in these realms.

Near-Death Experience websites

NDE and the Afterlife Christian Andreason's NDE
Heavenly Paradise NDE Information
Soul Travel Magazine Lawyer's Case for the Afterlife
Edgar Cayce Research Swedenborg and the Afterlife
Scientific Proof of Survival Larry Hagman's NDE
Idiots Guide to NDEs NDE web
Reincarnation and the NDE Celestial Travelers
Science Mysteries About Paranormal NDEs
NDEs in Melanesia NDEs in Thailand
Christia NDE links NDEs and Theosophy
Mormonism and NDEs Bahai Faith and NDEs
Christia NDEs Dannion Brinkley's News
Natural Death Handbook Afterlife Knowledge
On Death and Dying Reality Center
Beyond Indigo Death and Back
Bible Probe Final Frontier
Sacred Transformations Beyond the Veil
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross Toward the Light
Changing the Face of Death
Greater Things Skytopia
LifeLog Dharma Talks
Adidam Library Grief and Loss Links
NDE Research websites
Near-Death Support websites


Interesting Facts about Death


by Michele Baskin-Jones for

Things to Ponder...

When Mahatma Gandhi died, an autopsy revealed that his small intestine contained five gold Krugerrands.

Interesting Facts about Death -- From Your About Guide to Death & Dying. Read about the interesting and sometimes bizarre facts about death and dying here.

On average, right-handed people live 9 years longer than their left-handed counterparts.

A murder is committed in the US every 23 minutes, which makes about 22852 murders each year.

On average, people fear spiders more than they do dying. However, statistically you are more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than by the bite of a poisonous spider.

Cockroaches can live for nine days without their heads, at which point they die of starvation.

In Erwin, Tennessee an elephant was once hanged for murder.

About 100 people choke to death on ballpoint pens each year.

In the Spanish Pyrenees, when a beekeeper dies, each of his bees is splashed with a drop of Black Ink.

Dr. Alice Chase, who wrote 'Nutrition for Health', died of malnutrition.

The tiny poison arrow frog has enough poison to kill over 2200 people!

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Orange County, California. Number one is heart disease.

Only one in two billion people will live to be 116 or older.

A body decomposes four times as fast in water than on land.

The first U.S. execution by lethal injection was in 1982.

When Thomas Edison died in 1941; Henry Ford captured his last dying breath in a bottle.

Robert Hershey died when he fell into a vat of chocolate and drowned.

A Dentist invented the Electric Chair!

Ancient Egyptians shaved off their eyebrows to mourn the death of their cats.

Nutmeg is extremely poisonous if injected intravenously; it can kill you.

In Italy, it is against the law to make a coffin out of anything except wood or nutshells.

Over 2500 left handed people are killed from using products made for right handed people each year.

In 1845, President Andrew Jackson's pet parrot was removed from his funeral for swearing.

source :

Famous Last Words


Mahatma Gandhi

"Is it not meningitis?"
Louisa M. Alcott

"Die? I should say not, dear fellow. No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him."
John Barrymore (Actor)

"Friends applaud, the comedy is over."
Ludwig van Beethoven

"I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis."
Humphrey Bogart(Actor)

"Et tu, Brute?"
("You too, Brutus?")
Julius Gaius Caesar

"The earth is suffocating... Swear to make them cut me open, so that I won't be buried alive."
Frederic Chopin (Composer)

"I have tried so hard to do right."
Steven Grover Cleveland (22nd and 24th US President)

"It was a great game."
(After his last round of golf)
Harold Lillis "Bing" Crosby

"I am not the least afraid to die."
Charles Darwin

"That guy's got to stop... He'll see us."
(Before being killed in a car accident.)
James Dean

"My God. What's happened?"
Diana, Princess of Wales

"... the fog is rising"
Emily Dickinson

"It's very beautiful over there."
(Upon gazing out of his bedroom window.)
Thomas Edison

"I've always loved my wife, my children, and my grandchildren, and I've always loved my country. I want to go. God, take me"
Dwight D. Eisenhower

"All my possessions for a moment of time."
Queen Elizabeth I of England

"God damn the whole friggin' world and everyone in it but you, Carlotta."
W.C. Fields

"I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
Nathan Hale
(American Revolutionary)

"This is a mortal wound, doctor."
Alexander Hamilton (US Founding Father)

"Leave the shower curtain on the inside of the tub."
Conrad N. Hilton (Founder of the Hilton Hotel chain.)

"This is funny."
John Henry (Doc) Holliday

"Hold the cross high so I may see it through the flames!"
Saint Joan of Arc

"Turn me. I am roasted on one side."
Saint Lawrence (Roman Martyr)

"Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven't said enough!"
(To his housekeeper, when asked if he wanted his last words recorded.)
Karl Marx

"Drink to me!"
Pablo Picasso

"Lord help my poor soul."
Edgar Allan Poe

"I have a terrific headache."
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (32nd US President)

"I'm going over the valley."
Babe Ruth

"Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius. Will you remember to pay the debt?"

"Even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six."
Count Leo Tolstoy (Russian Writer)

"'Tis well."
General George Washington (First US President)

"Go away. I'm all right."
Herbert George (H.G.) Wells (Famous Writer)

source :

Inspirational Quotes


"Birth and death are not two different states, but they are different aspects of the same state. There is as little reason to deplore the one as there is to be pleased over the other." ~ Mohandas K. Gandhi

"It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth -- and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had."  ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

"It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather, our concern must be to live while we're alive -- to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are."  ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

"Death is simply a shedding of the physical body like the butterfly shedding its cocoon. It is a transition to a higher state of consciousness where you continue to perceive, to understand, to laugh, and to be able to grow." ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

"For those who seek to understand it, death is a highly creative force. The highest spiritual values of life can originate from the thought and study of death." ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

"I've told my children that when I die, to release balloons in the sky to celebrate that I graduated. For me, death is a graduation." ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

"People living deeply have no fear of death." ~ Anais Nin

"One often calms one's grief by recounting it." ~ Pierre Corneille

"Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live."  ~ Norman Cousins

"A useless life is an early death." ~ Johann W. von Goethe

"The only cure for grief is action." ~ George Henry Lewes

"Mourning is not forgetting... It is an undoing. Every minute tie has to be untied and something permanent and valuable recovered and assimilated from the dust." ~ Margery Allingham

"Don't grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form." ~ The Rumi

"To not think of dying, is to not think of living." ~ Jann Arden

"Eternity is not something that begins after you're dead. It is going on all the time. We are in it now." ~ Charlotte Perkins Gilman

"I have absolutely no fear of death. From my near-death research and my personal experiences, death is, in my judgment, simply a transition into another kind of reality." ~ Raymond Moody

"Every mortal loss is an immortal gain." ~ William Blake

"The happiness of the drop is to die in the river." ~ Al-Ghazali

"The grave is but a covered bridge Leading from light to light, through a brief darkness!" ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Oh, write of me, not 'Died in bitter pains,' But 'Emigrated to another star!' " ~ Helen Hunt Jackson

"For any culture which is primarily concerned with meaning, the study of death -- the only certainty that life holds for us -- must be central, for an understanding of death is the key to liberation in life." ~ Stanislav Grof

"The safest course is to do nothing against one's conscience. With this secret, we can enjoy life and have no fear from death." ~ Voltaire

"For a man who has done his natural duty, death is as natural as sleep." ~ George Santayana

"When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live you life in a manner so that when you die the world cries and you rejoice." ~ Native American Proverb

"Good men must die, but death cannot kill their names." ~ The Bible

"No one's death comes to pass without making some impression, and those close to the deceased inherit part of the liberated soul and become richer in their humaneness." ~ Hermann Broch

"Death, like birth, is a secret of Nature." ~Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

"The act of dying is one of the acts of life." ~ Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

"For death begins with life's first breath And life begins at touch of death." ~ John Oxenham

"Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon as the end of the ocean." ~ David Searls

"Life is a great sunrise. I do not see why death should not be an even greater one." ~ Vladimir Nobokov

"We sometimes congratulate ourselves at the moment of waking from a troubled dream; it may be so the moment after death." ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

source :

Depression May Hasten Death in Elderly


Evidence has been building for several decades that depression can increase the elderly’s risk of dying. Now this link has been tightened a notch further by a study reported in the October Archives of General Psychiatry by a team of Dutch scientists.

Brenda W.J.H. Penninx, Ph.D., an epidemiologist with Vrije University in Amsterdam, and her coworkers examined the incidence of either major depression or minor depression among some 3,000 men and women ages 55 to 85 years old living in various areas throughout the Netherlands. Death certificates for all subjects who died between the start of the study in 1993 and the end of the study in 1997 were likewise obtained. After adjusting for possibly confounding socioeconomic factors such as age, sex, education, smoking, alcohol consumption, body mass index, physical activity, and chronic disease, the researchers found that major depression was associated with a 1.83-fold higher death risk in both men and women, and minor depression with a 1.80-fold higher death risk in men.

"It is an interesting finding," said Mustafa M. Husain, M.D., a psychiatrist with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and chair of the APA Committee on Access and Effectiveness of Psychiatric Services for the Elderly. Internists and cardiologists who deal with the elderly should be made aware of such data, he believes.

Certainly this study has implications for physicians who care for the elderly, agrees Scott Spier, M.D., chief of the division of psychiatry at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore and a physician with a special interest in geriatric psychiatry. They should do their best to see that depressed older people, especially those in nursing homes, get the antidepressant medications they need. Being sad because you are stuck in a nursing home, he stresses, is not the same as being depressed.

George Dyck, M.D., a psychiatrist with the University of Kansas in Wichita and on the APA Committee on Long-Term Care and Treatment for the Elderly, views the Dutch investigation from still another perspective. Although seniors are more likely to talk about their depressions than they used to, he points out, older men are still more reluctant to do so than older women are. Thus the reason the Dutch investigators found that minor depression increased mortality risk among older men but not among older women, he speculates, may have been due to a number of older men playing down their depressions and thus being categorized as "minor" depressives when they actually belonged to the "major depression" category.

Still unclear, however, is why seniors are more likely to die when they are depressed than when they are not. The increased risk of death among depressives in the Dutch study could not be attributed to suicide. In fact, about a half of those with major depression succumbed to cardiovascular disease and a fair number of those with minor depression to respiratory disease. But might the causes lie still deeper in the human mind and body—might depression alter certain endocrinologic and immune pathways that predispose to specific diseases?

Mark Goulston, M.D., a Los Angeles-based psychiatrist and a senior psychiatrist at <>, the primary behavioral and mental health resource to <>, thinks so.

"Certainly an attitude can affect one’s immune system," he asserts. Indeed, there is evidence that depression can alter the endocrine and immunological states of not just seniors, but of younger persons as well."

But can depression truly trigger endocrinological and immune changes that are so dramatic that they can then lead to illness and death? This hypothesis has not yet been tested on a large scale among community-dwelling seniors. "This is actually the area I am interested in for my future research," Penninx told Psychiatric News.


A Twentieth Century Chronology of Voluntary Euthanasia and Physician-assisted Suicide



Compiled by Derek Humphry
Updated March 9 2003

1906 - First euthanasia bill drafted in Ohio. It does not succeed.

1935 - World's first euthanasia society is founded in London, England.

1938 - The Euthanasia Society of America is founded by the Rev. Charles Potter in New York.

1954 - Joseph Fletcher publishes Morals and Medicine, predicting the coming controversy over the right to die.

1957 - Pope Pius XII issues Catholic doctrine distinguishing ordinary from extraordinary means for sustaining life.

1958 - Oxford law professor Glanville Williams publishes The Sanctity of Life and the Criminal Law, proposing that voluntary euthanasia be allowed for competent, terminally ill patients.

1958 - Lael Wertenbaker publishes Death of a Man describing how she helped her husband commit suicide. It is the first book of its genre.

1967 - The first living will is written by attorney Louis Kutner and his arguments for it appear in the Indiana Law Journal.

1967 - A right-to-die bill is introduced by Dr. Walter W. Sackett in Florida's legislature. It arouses extensive debate but is unsuccessful.

l968 - Doctors at Harvard Medical School propose redefining death to include brain death as well as heart-lung death. Gradually this definition is accepted.

1969 - Voluntary euthanasia bill introduced in the Idaho legislation. It fails.

1969 - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross publishes On Death and Dying, opening discussion of the once-taboo subject of death.

1970 - The Euthanasia Society (US) finishes distributing 60,000 living wills.

1973 - American Hospital Association creates Patient Bill of Rights, which includes informed consent and the right to refuse treatment.

1973 - Dr. Gertruida Postma, who gave her dying mother a lethal injection, receives light sentence in the Netherlands. The furore launches the euthanasia movement in that country (NVVE).

1974 - The Euthanasia Society in New York renamed the Society for the Right to Die. The first hospice American hospice opens in New Haven, Conn.

1975 - Deeply religious Van Dusens commit suicide. Henry P. Van Dusen, 77, and his wife, Elizabeth, 80, leaders of the Christian ecumenical movement, choose to die rather than suffer from disabling conditions. Their note reads, "We still feel this is the best way and the right way to go."

1975 - Dutch Voluntary Euthanasia Society (NVVE) launches its Members' Aid Service to give advice to the dying. Receives 25 requests for aid in the first year.

1976 - The New Jersey Supreme Court allows Karen Ann Quinlan's parents to disconnect the respirator that keeps her alive, saying it is affirming the choice Karen herself would have made. Quinlan case becomes a legal landmark. But she lives on for another eight years.

1976 - California Natural Death Act is passed. The nation's first aid in dying statute gives legal standing to living wills and protects physicians from being sued for failing to treat incurable illnesses.

1976 - Ten more U.S. states pass natural death laws.

1976 - First international meeting of right-to-die groups. Six are represented inTokyo.

1978 - Doris Portwood publishes landmark book Commonsense Suicide: The Final Right. It argues that old people in poor health might justifiably kill themselves.

1978 - Whose Life Is It Anyway?, a play about a young artist who becomes quadriplegic, is staged in London and on Broadway, raising disturbing questions about the right to die. A film version appears in 1982. Jean's Way is published in England by Derek Humphry, describing how he helped his terminally ill wife to die.

1979 - Artist Jo Roman, dying of cancer, commits suicide at a much-publicized gathering of friends that is later broadcast on public television and reported by the New York Times.

1979 - Two right-to-die organizations split. The Society for the Right to Die separates from Concern for Dying, a companion group that grew out of the Society's Euthanasia Education Council.

1980 - Advice column Dear Abby publishes a letter from a reader agonizing over a dying loved one, generating 30,000 advance care directive requests at the Society for the Right to Die.

1980 - Pope John Paul II issues Declaration in Euthanasia opposing mercy killing but permits the greater use of painkillers to ease pain and the right to refuse extraordinary means for sustaining life.

1980 -Hemlock Society is founded in Santa Monica, California, by Derek Humphry. It advocates legal change and distributes how to die information. This launches the campaign for assisted dying in America. Hemlock's national membership will grow to 50,000 within a decade. Right to die societies also formed the same year in Germany and Canada.

1980 - World Federation of Right to Die Societies is formed in Oxford, England. It comprises 27 groups from 18 nations.

1981 -Hemlock publishes how-to suicide guide, Let Me Die Before I Wake, the first such book on open sale

1983 - Famous author (Darkness at Noon etc) Arthur Koestler, terminally ill, commits suicide a year after publishing his reasons. His wife Cynthia, not dying, choses to commit suicide with him.

1983 - Elizabeth Bouvia, a quadriplegic suffering from cerebral palsy, sues a California hospital to let her die of self-starvation while receiving comfort care. She loses, and files an appeal.

1984 - Advance care directives become recognized in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

1984 - The Netherlands Supreme Court approves voluntary euthanasia under certain conditions.

1985 - Karen Ann Quinlan dies.

1985 - Betty Rollin publishes Last Wish, her account of helping her mother to die after a long losing battle with breast cancer. The book becomes a bestseller.

1986 - Roswell Gilbert, 76, sentenced in Florida to 25 years without parole for shooting his terminally ill wife. Granted clemency five years later.

1986 - Elizabeth Bouvia is granted the right to refuse force feeding by an appeals court. But she declines to take advantage of the permission and is still alive in l998.

1986 - Americans Against Human Suffering is founded in California, launching a campaign for what will become the 1992 California Death with Dignity Act.

1987 - The California State Bar Conference passes Resolution #3-4-87 to become the first public body to approve of physician aid in dying.

1988 - Journal of the American Medical Association prints It's Over, Debbie, an unsigned article describing a resident doctor giving a lethal injection to a woman dying of ovarian cancer. The public prosecutor makes an intense, unsuccessful effort to identify the physician in the article.

1988 - Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations passes a national resolution favoring aid in dying for the terminally ill, becoming the first religious body to affirm a right to die.

1990 - Washington Initiative (119) is filed, the first state voter referendum on the issue of voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

1990 - American Medical Association adopts the formal position that with informed consent, a physician can withhold or withdraw treatment from a patient who is close to death, and may also discontinue life support of a patient in a permanent coma.

1990 - Dr. Jack Kevorkian assists in the death of Janet Adkins, a middle-aged woman with Alzheimer's disease. Kevorkian subsequently flounts the Michigan legislature's attempts to stop him from assisting in additional suicides.

1990 - Supreme Court decides the Cruzan case, its first aid in dying ruling. The decision recognizes that competent adults have a constitutionally protected liberty interest that includes a right to refuse medical treatment; the court also allows a state to impose procedural safeguards to protect its interests.

1990 - Hemlock of Oregon introduces the Death With Dignity Act into the Oregon legislature, but it fails to get out of committee.

1990 - Congress passes the Patient Self-Determination Act, requiring hospitals that receive federal funds to tell patients that they have a right to demand or refuse treatment. It takes effect the next year.

1991 - Dr. Timothy Quill writes about "Diane" in the New England Journal of Medicine, describing his provision of lethal drugs to a leukemia patient who chose to die at home by her own hand rather than undergo therapy that offered a 25 percent chance of survival.
1991 - Nationwide Gallup poll finds that 75 percent of Americans approve of living wills.

1991 - Derek Humphry publishes Final Exit, a how-to book on self-deliverance. Within 18 months the book sells 540,000 copies and tops USA bestseller lists. It is translated into twelve other languages. Total sales exceed one million.

1991 - Choice in Dying is formed by the merger of two aid in dying organizations, Concern for Dying and Society for the Right to Die. The new organization becomes known for defending patients' rights and promoting living wills, and will grow in five years to 50,000 members.

1991 - Washington State voters reject Ballot Initiative 119, which would have legalized physician-aided suicide and aid in dying. The vote is 54-46 percent.

1992 - Americans for Death with Dignity, formerly Americans Against Human Suffering, places the California Death with Dignity Act on the state ballot as Proposition 161.

1992 - Health care becomes a major political issue as presidential candidates debate questions of access, rising costs, and the possible need for some form of rationing.

1992 - California voters defeat Proposition 161, which would have allowed physicians to hasten death by actively administering or prescribing medications for self administration by suffering, terminally ill patients. The vote is 54-46 percent.

1993 - Advance directive laws are achieved in 48 states, with passage imminent in the remaining two.

1993 - Compassion in Dying is founded in Washington state to counsel the terminally ill and provide information about how to die without suffering and "with personal assistance, if necessary, to intentionally hasten death." The group sponsors suits challenging state laws against assisted suicide.

1993 - President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton publicly support advance directives and sign living wills, acting after the death of Hugh Rodham, Hillary's father.

1993 - Oregon Right to Die, a political action committee, is founded to write and subsequently to pass the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.

1994 - The Death with Dignity Education Center is founded in California as a national nonprofit organization that works to promote a comprehensive, humane, responsive system of care for terminally ill patients.

1994 - More presidential living wills are revealed. After the deaths of former President Richard Nixon and former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, it is reported that both had signed advance directives.

1994 - The California Bar approves physician-assisted suicide. With an 85 percent majority and no active opposition, the Conference of Delegates says physicians should be allowed to prescribe medication to terminally ill, competent adults self-administration in order to hasten death.

1994 - All states and the District of Columbia now recognize some type of advance directive procedure.

1994 - Washington State's anti-suicide law is overturned. In Compassion v. Washington, a district court finds that a law outlawing assisted suicide violates the 14th Amendment. Judge Rothstein writes, "The court does not believe that a distinction can be drawn between refusing life-sustaining medical treatment and physician-assisted suicide by an uncoerced, mentally competent, terminally ill adult."

1994 - In New York State, the lawsuit Quill et al v. Koppell is filed to challenge the New York law prohibiting assisted suicide. Quill loses, and files an appeal.

1994 - Oregon voters approve Measure 16, a Death With Dignity Act ballot initiative that would permit terminally ill patients, under proper safeguards, to obtain a physician's prescription to end life in a humane and dignified manner. The vote is 51-49 percent.

1994 - U.S. District Court Judge Hogan issues a temporary restraining order against Oregon's Measure 16, following that with an injunction barring the state from putting the law into effect.

1995 - Oregon Death with Dignity Legal Defense and Education Center is founded. Its purpose is to defend Ballot Measure 16 legalizing physician-assisted suicide.

1995 - Washington State's Compassion ruling is overturned by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, reinstating the anti suicide law.

1995 - U.S. District Judge Hogan rules that Oregon Measure 16, the Death with Dignity Act, is unconstitutional on grounds it violates the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution. His ruling is immediately appealed.

1995 - Surveys find that doctors disregard most advance directives. Journal of the American Medical Association reports that physicians were unaware of the directives of three-quarters of all elderly patients admitted to a New York hospital; the California Medical Review reports that three-quarters of all advance directives were missing from Medicare records in that state.

1995 - Oral arguments in the appeal of Quill v. Vacco contest the legality of New York's anti-suicide law before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

1995 - Compassion case is reconsidered in Washington state by a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel of eleven judges, the largest panel ever to hear a physician-assisted suicide case.

1996 - The Northern Territory of Australia passes voluntary euthanasia law. Nine months later the Federal Parliament quashes it.

1996 - The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reverses the Compassion finding in Washington state, holding that "a liberty interest exists in the choice of how and when one dies, and that the provision of the Washington statute banning assisted suicide, as applied to competent, terminally ill adults who wish to hasten their deaths by obtaining medication prescribed by their doctors, violates the Due Process Clause." The ruling affects laws of nine western states. It is stayed pending appeal.

1996 - A Michigan jury acquits Dr. Kevorkian of violating a state law banning assisted suicides.

1996 - The Second Circuit Court of Appeals reverses the Quill finding, ruling that "The New York statutes criminalizing assisted suicide violate the Equal Protection Clause because, to the extent that they prohibit a physician from prescribing medications to be self-administered by a mentally competent, terminally ill person in the final stages of his terminal illness, they are not rationally related to any legitimate state interest." The ruling affects laws in New York, Vermont and Connecticut. (On 17 April the court stays enforcement of its ruling for 30 days pending an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.)

1996 - The U.S. Supreme Court announces that it will review both cases sponsored by Compassion in Dying, known now as Washington v. Glucksberg and Quill v. Vacco.

1997 - Oral arguments set for the New York and Washington cases on physician assisted dying. The cases were heard in tandem on 8 January but not combined. A ruling is expected in June.

1997 - ACLU attorney Robert Rivas files an amended complaint challenging the 128 year-old Florida law banning assisted suicide. Charles E. Hall, who has AIDS asks court permission for a doctor to assist his suicide. The court refuses.

1997 - On 13 May the Oregon House of Representatives votes 32-26 to return Measure 16 to the voters in November for repeal (H.B. 2954). On 10 June the Senate votes 20-10 to pass H.B. 2954 and return Measure 16 to the voters for repeal. No such attempt to overturn the will of the voters has been tried in Oregon since 1908.

1997 - On 26 June the U.S. Supreme Court reverses the decisions of the Ninth and Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington v. Glucksberg and Quill v. Vacco, upholding as constitutional state statutes which bar assisted suicide. However, the court also validated the concept of "double effect," openly acknowledging that death hastened by increased palliative measures does not constitute prohibited conduct so long as the intent is the relief of pain and suffering. The majority opinion ended with the pronouncement that "Throughout the nation, Americans are engaged in an earnest and profound debate about the morality, legality and practicality of physician-assisted suicide. Our holding permits this debate to continue, as it should in a democratic society."

1997 - Dutch Voluntary Euthanasia Society (NVVE) reports its membership now more than 90,000, of whom 900 made requests for help in dying to its Members' Aid Service.

1997 - Britain's Parliament rejects by 234 votes to 89 the seventh attempt in 60 years to change the law on assisted suicide despite polls showing 82 percent of British people want reform.

1997 - On 4 November the people of Oregon vote by a margin of 60-40 percent against Measure 51, which would have repealed the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, l994. The law officially takes effect (ORS 127.800-897) on 27 October l997 when court challenges disposed of.

1998 - Dr. Kevorkian assists the suicide of his 92nd patient in eight years. His home state, Michigan, passes new law making such actions a crime. It took effect September, 1 1998, but Kevorkian carries on helping people to die -- 120 by November.

1998 - Oregon Health Services Commission decides that payment for physician-assisted suicide can come from state funds under the Oregon Health Plan so that the poor will not be discriminated against.

1998 - 16 people die by making use of the Oregon Death With Dignity Act, receiving physician-assisted suicide in its first full year of implementation.

1998 - Measure B on the Michigan ballot to legalize physician-assisted suicide defeated by 70 - 30%.

1999 - Dr. Kevorkian sentenced to 10-25 years imprisonment for the 2nd degree murder of Thomas Youk after showing video of death by injection on national television.

1999 - 26 people die by physician-assisted suicide in the second full year of the Oregon PAS law.

2000 - World Euthanasia Conference, Boston

2000 - Citizens' Ballot Initiative in Maine to approve the lawfulness of Physician- Assisted Suicide was narrowly defeated 51-49 percent.

2001 - Kevorkian's appeal decision reached after 2 years 7 months. Judges reject it.

2001 - MS victim Diane Pretty asks UK court to allow her husband to help her commit suicide. The London High Court, the House of Lords, and the Court of Human Rights, in Strasbourg, all say no. She dies in hospice a few weeks later.

2002 - Dutch law allowing voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide takes effect on 1 February. For 20 years previously it had been permitted under guidelines.

2002 - Belgium passes similar law to the Dutch, allowing both voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

2003 - US Attorney-General Ashcroft asks the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal to reverse the finding of a lower court judge that the Oregon Death With Dignity Act l994 does not contravene federal powers. 129 dying people have used this law over the last five years to obtain legal physician-assisted suicide. The losers of this appeal will almost certainly ask the US Supreme Court to rule.

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