The Peaceful Pill Handbook on voluntary euthanaisa and assisted suicide was first published by Exit International USA in 2006. Dr Philip Nitschke and Dr Fiona Stewart are its authors.
The Peaceful Pill Handbook is based on a civil rights model of ‘euthanasia’ (a good death).
In this, euthanasia is seen as a civil right, rather than a medical treatment.
If euthanasia (or assisted suicide or whatever you want to call it) is a medical treatment, then dying at a time and place of one’s own choosing is only for those who are seriously ill or suffering unbearably.
If euthanasia is a civil right, then dying well and as one wants, is for everyone.
The objective of The Peaceful Pill Handbook series of books is to provide our readers with the most accurate and reliable end-of-life information available.
Some people will want this information in the context of palliative care. Many readers will not be ill at all.
Access to accurate, up-to-date information is critical in being able to make informed decisions about one’s life and death.
Most people hope they will never need to use this information. But most of us want to know that we have a choice, just in case.
An end of life plan is an ‘insurance policy’ for the future.
A well considered death with dignity plan is an important part of overall life-planning (just like an Advance Directive or living will, testamentary wills, prepaid funeral plans and so on).
Ending one’s life in the context of serious illness/ old age is not a crime.
However, asking a loved one to help you is against the law & can attract harsh penalties in many countries.
This is why it makes sense to plan ahead and keep your loved ones safe.
In writing The Peaceful Pill Handbook series, the authors acknowledge the pioneering work of Dr Jack Kevorkian and Derek Humphry.
Dr Jack Kevorkian operated firmly within the medical model.
He helped over 100 patients to a peaceful death before being prosecuted and going on to spend the best part of a decade in prison.
Derek Humphry founded the Hemlock Society in 1980 and published the seminal Final Exit book in 1991.
Final Exit was the first book to treat euthanasia as a civil right and to provide information designed to enable readers to plan ahead.
Together, these activists are have written much of the history of the euthanasia and assisted suicide movement globally.