Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?

Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?

Euthanasia is an aspect that has posed great ethical concern among different groups of people including religions, tribes, organizations and communities (Yuen, 1992).  Euthanasia is a terminology that is used to refer to the action of terminating very sick person’s life so as to relieve them from pain and suffering (Barbuzzi, 2014). This is normally done through lethal injection or through suspension of necessary medical support in order to compel the sick person to die faster. Religions have differed greatly on the condition where a person can be given the responsibility to terminate the life of another person on the grounds of “mercy killing” (Coggon, 2013). The word itself is a oxymoron because killing and mercy are two things that do not share a common ground.

Religions like Christianity and Muslim do not support the idea of terminating a person’s life through “mercy killing” (Coggon, 2013). The Koran and Biblical perspective about a person’s life does not give human being a mandate to terminate another person on whatever ground. Life is considered sacred and a gift from God and He is the only one who can be responsible for its termination (Jackson, 2013).

This issue therefore poses a great ethical dilemma on the direction which is most appropriate and suitable to the society (Breitbart et al, 2000). In some situation, patients may be in a critical health condition that may subject them to painful torture (Emanuel et al, 1996). Some diseases like aids and cancer lacks appropriate medication that can assure person’s recovery. In the terminal stages of these diseases, a person is subjected to painful condition with very little probability of recovery. This leaves the relatives of the affected person with difficult decision to make. They can sign for euthanasia in order to relieve the sick or they can let him/her die by the mercies of the disease. Therefore, this aspect poses a great ethical dilemma to the society.


Barbuzzi, M. (2014). Who Owns the Right to Die? An Argument about the Legal Status of Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in Canada. Penn Bioethics Journal10(1), 16-20.

Breitbart, W., Rosenfeld, B., Pessin, H., Kaim, M., Funesti-Esch, J., Galietta, M., … & Brescia, R. (2000). Depression, hopelessness, and desire for hastened death in terminally ill patients with cancer. Jama284(22), 2907-2911.

Coggon, J. (2013). The Wonder of Euthanasia: A Debate that’s Being Done to Death†. Oxford Journal Of Legal Studies33(2), 401-419.

Emanuel, E. J., Daniels, E. R., Fairclough, D. L., & Clarridge, B. R. (1996). Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide: attitudes and experiences of oncology patients, oncologists, and the public. The Lancet347(9018), 1805-1810.

Jackson, A. (2013). ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill; But Needst Not Strive Officiously to Keep Alive’: Further Clarification of the Law regarding Mercy Killing, Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. Journal Of Criminal Law77(6), 468-475. doi:10.1350/jcla.2013.77.6.871

Yuen, H. (1992). Ethics of euthanasia. CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal146(8), 1285.