Many jurisdictions have laws against suicide. Historically laws against suicide and mercy killing have developed from religious doctrine, for example, the claim that only God has the right to determine when a person will die, or that committing suicide is a blasphemous rejection of God's gift of life.
In the late 1960s, eighteen U.S. states lacked laws against suicide. By the late 1980s, thirty of the fifty states had no laws against suicide or suicide attempts but every state had laws declaring it to be felony to aid, advise or encourage another person to commit suicide. Laws against suicide are mentioned in the film, It's a Wonderful Life; the angel states that where he comes from, suicide is illegal.
- B Steinbock (2005), The case for physician assisted suicide: not (yet) proven, Journal of medical ethics, http://jme.bmj.com/content/31/4/235.full
- Litman, Robert E. (1966-1967), Medical-Legal Aspects of Suicide, 6, Washburn L.J., pp. 395, http://heinonlinebackup.com/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/wasbur6§ion=41
- ES Shneidman. "Approaches and commonalities of suicide". Suicide and its prevention.
- SM Canick (1997), Constitutional Aspects of Physician-Assisted Suicide After Lee v. Oregon, Am. JL & Med., http://heinonlinebackup.com/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/amlmed23§ion=9