l, social and cultural levels for decades and, even at the global level, this activity still does not seem to be able to reach any societal consensus about whether it is appropriate. However, assisted suicide allows individuals with varying health problems or handicaps to have a means to escape their complications and avoid the anguish of dying without a sense of personal decorum.
Washington and Oregon are the only two states in the US where assisted suicide is a practice allowable by law (Ball and Mengewein, 2010). Since both states are located on the West coast, this might be representative of a cultural perspective that is quite different from the rest of the continental United States. Both of these states now support the perspective of different right-to-die organizations and protect the medical community from being the victims of lawsuits. The efforts of these states further supported what ended up being a victorious lawsuit in Montana, filed by truck driver Robert Baxter, a patient with lymphocytic leukemia, who actively challenged Montana’s homicide statute. Even though this particular case was victorious, Baxter died of his illness on December 5, 2008 which happened to be the exact same day that his case won in the First Judicial District Court in Helena (Blesch, 2009). However, this set the precedent for future lawsuits of this nature in support of the right-to-die agenda.
Even at the global level, there is much progression in areas of assisted suicide, with Belgium taking the lead in support for euthanasia. In 2007, almost two percent of all deaths reported involved assisted suicide at the request of the patient, with the rate of the Belgium medical community withholding life-extending treatment increasing from 14.6 percent to 17.4 percent in just six years (Bilsen, Cohen, Chambaere and Pousset, 2009).