Should a doctor be allowed to end a patient’s life by painless means if the patient requests it? In the 1940s and 1950s, most Americans thought the practice should be illegal, but now 69 percent say it should be legal, according to a new study. As many as 69 percent in the U.S. say physicians should be allowed to end patients’ lives by painless means, and 51 percent say they would consider ending their own lives if they personally had a disease that could not be cured and they were living in severe pain, a new Values and Beliefs poll by Gallup found.

“When a person has a disease that cannot be cured, do you think doctors should be allowed by law to end the patient’s life by some painless means if the patient and his or her family request it?” Gallup asked this question on telephone interviews conducted May 4-8, with a random sample of 1,025 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. FULL REPORT