Decriminalisation of Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Euthanasia is the practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering.

Euthanasia is of different types – voluntary euthanasia (on a person’s request) which is legal in a few countries like the Netherlands, Canada and India, non-voluntary euthanasia (without a person’s consent) and involuntary euthanasia (against a person’s consent), both of which are illegal in all countries. Assisted suicide is often associated with voluntary euthanasia, but is actually different as it entails making lethal means available to the patient, to be used at a time of the patient’s own choosing. By contrast, voluntary-active euthanasia entails the physician taking an active role in carrying out the patient’s request, and usually involves intravenous delivery of a lethal substance.

I do not believe in the decriminalisation of euthanasia as the main principle of this act is a person deciding to end their life as they do not believe it to be ‘worth’ living. This principle cannot be accommodated in a legal system for which belief in the worth and dignity of every human being is foundational. Death is never beneficial for any human being. Someone who does not believe their life to be worthwhile has more chances of suffering from clinical depression than to take a ‘well-thought-out, rational’ decision to end their life. Counselling and treatments are far more beneficial in such cases.

However, assisted suicide in several cases can be legalised. These cases can include a person with an incurable disease certain of their demise, wishing to die with dignity or wanting to surpass the pain of surgeries. The rationality of voluntary suicide is completely absent. So, it shall be understood that a mind deciding to end their own life has reached a place where they find no solution for their problems and thus, providing them with the assistance they require is far more rational.

~Adyant Chawla, Step by Step Noida

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