Euthanasia: Legal and Ethical Issues

Euthanasia has different perspectives from people and is one of the most debated acts in the medical field. Euthanasia is defined as easy or painless death or the purposeful termination of a person’s life at their request who is suffering from an incurable or severe sickness (University of Missouri, n.d). Euthanasia can be grouped into various combinations, such as mercy-killing or physician-assisted. Mercy killing happens when a physician kills a patient without consent, like in passive, involuntary, and other-administered euthanasia (University of Missouri, n.d). Physician-assisted occurs when a physician terminates the patient’s life by facilitating the means to end their life with the patient’s permission, such as active, voluntary, and assisted euthanasia (University of Missouri, n.d). The discussion in this paper seeks to outline legal and ethical issues for and against euthanasia.

According to studies, active euthanasia is regarded as unethical by most physicians in Serbia. The study done by Banović et al. (2017), on an ethical review of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide shows a slight disagreement on euthanasia. The research results exhibit varied views among physicians (56.8% believed active euthanasia was unethically unacceptable, 35.2% held it was ethically correct, and 8% thought it was appropriate in some circumstances) (Banović et al., 2017). Those people who term euthanasia as unethically right assert that according to the traditional ethical principle, human life is sacred, and no one cannot and must not take life according to the conventional moral code (Banović et al., 2017). It is unethical to kill someone because you term sickness as suffering and justify death as the only way to save them.

According to moral theorems, people supporting euthanasia believe that taking a life to save suffering patients from great pain is morally and ethically correct. Mercy-killing proponents contend that letting people die in critical states with little chance of recovery eliminates further unnecessary and pointless medical interventions (University of Missouri, n.d). Active euthanasia supporters often contend that killing patients is not worse than allowing them to die. Supporters voluntarily argue that patients should be free to choose what happens to their lives (University of Missouri, n.d). Killing suffering patients would stop any more misery if they were already experiencing it. Supporters of physician-assisted suicide contend that by offering assistance to a suffering or extremely sick patient, a doctor only facilitates the patient’s desire to pass away in dignity (University of Missouri, n.d). Supporters of euthanasia term it as a favor to the suffering as it takes away their pain when their lives are terminated.

As per legal means to support or oppose euthanasia, people base their justification on the provisions of universal human rights, that human beings have the right to life. The legal right to life and the right to die are not two different rights but two facets of the same right (Benatar, n.d). People against euthanasia say that every person has the right to life and the right to be free from the arbitrary deprivation of that right. Those for euthanasia question if human beings have the right to life, then they have the right to die and the freedom to do what they want with their lives when they cannot have the capacity to live. Legal and morals intertwine and should not be separated when making a justification to perform euthanasia.

In conclusion, based on the substantial discussion on whether euthanasia is ethically right or unethical, I view euthanasia as ethical. I believe that respect for a person has four facets; concern for their well-being, care for their desires, observance of their guiding principles, and consideration for their interests. I might not have the right to take someone’s life, but I have a chance to save them from unbearable and incurable pain. Being human is to have compassion for others, and taking their pain away is one way to show you care for human nature.


Banović, B., Turanjanin, V., & Miloradović, A. (2017). An ethical review of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Iranian Journal of Public Health, 46(2), 173. Web.

Benatar, D. (n.d.). Should there be a legal right to die? Web.

University of Missouri. (n.d.). Euthanasia. Web.

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