Sir Terry Pratchett, author of the popular Discworld novels, has recently taken the first steps towards ending his own life in Switzerland's Dignitas Clinic. However, the first steps just means obtaining the paperwork to be granted the procedure. Pratchett was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease three years ago and has since campaigned for England to pass a right-to-die law.

Just this week, the BBC broadcasted a documentary directed by Pratchett depicting a terminal patient going through the process at the same Swiss clinic. The film sparked controversy and debate by showing a suicide death on television, as well as challenging the current state of British law regarding assisted suicide.

Pratchett is clear that he has not yet made the decision to go through the process, and is still working, but thinks the freedom for terminal patients to choose when they pass. From the Telegraph: "He has complained that people who wish to undergo the procedure under the current system are forced to commit suicide earlier than necessary because they have to go to Switzerland before they are too ill to travel."

Oregon's own Death with Dignity law has been in place since 1994. Death with Dignity is very specific about who is entitled to it and how, and even survived constant attack from Attorney General John Ashcroft during his tenure. It was also the subject of a documentary this year, How to Die in Oregon.