Euthanasia, also mercy killing, practice of ending a life so as to release an individual from an incurable disease or intolerable suffering. The term is sometimes used generally to refer to an easy or painless death. Voluntary euthanasia involves a request by the dying patient or that person's legal representative. Passive, or negative, euthanasia involves not doing something to prevent death?that is, allowing someone to die. Active, or positive, euthanasia involves taking deliberate action to cause a death.
From Microsoft Encarta
The concept of euthanasia elicits very emotional responses on both sides of the issue. At the heart of the matter is a moral debate about what lengths people should go to in order to preserve human life and what really constitutes a life worth preserving.
Meanings of terms
Is euthanasia really necessary?
Netherland History of Euthanasia
U.S.A History of Euthanasia
Japan History of Euthanasia
Beliefs about Suicide and Euthanasia
The Verbal battle over Euthanasia