What are the countries where euthanasia or assisted suicide are legal? We hope that you aren’t searching this topic for personal reasons, but more out of a simple wish to learn more about certain ethical concepts that are currently in effect in certain parts of the world. Whatever the reason has brought you to this page, we hope that you will find your answer and learn something new.
Before we present you with the list of countries that have no laws against euthanasia or assisted suicide, let us first explain the difference between these two, for some human and for others inhuman, acts. Perhaps you don’t know, but the word euthanasia comes from two Greek words – “eu” meaning good or well, and “thanatos” meaning death. That means that euthanasia can be translated as a “good death” or an “easy death”. And we all know what its basic definition is – it is the deliberate ending of a person’s life with the purpose of relieving that person from further pain and suffering.
Euthanasia can be classified with respect to various aspects – if we classify it regarding the type of the act, we have passive and active euthanasia. On the other hand, if we classify it considering an aspect towards another human being we have voluntary, involuntary and non-voluntary euthanasia. Let’s start by first explaining active and passive euthanasia. As the words denote it – active euthanasia consists of the act of performing a deliberate action that will end a person’s life, for example injecting a lethal shot, whereas passive euthanasia refers to “only” refraining from actions that would keep a person alive, for example not giving food or medicine, or switching off support machines, etc. As for voluntary euthanasia, it is also quite logical what it represents – that the person who is being euthanized has requested it. Non-voluntary – the person has made neither consent nor refusal (a good example is when the person is declared braindead and is in a coma). Finally, involuntary euthanasia is, naturally, euthanasia against person’s will, and is in most cases treated as murder.
Alright, so we now know all the forms of euthanasia, but what about the definition of assisted suicide? The name, once again, speaks for itself. Assisted suicide is a suicide performed with someone’s help or guidance. Euthanasia is usually done by lethal injection and assisted suicide by prescribed an overdose of medicine, which is one of the easiest painless ways of killing yourselves quickest.
While there are opposite opinions when it comes to questioning whether there is a moral difference between passive and active euthanasia, most of the people will agree that there exist a strong moral difference between assisted suicide and euthanasia; which is exactly the reason why some countries allow only assisted suicide and not both.
Ethical dilemmas concerning euthanasia and assisted suicides are many, and it seems they can never be ultimately resolved, just as most of the other moral questions. Do you have your opinion on this matter? Are you for legalizing euthanasia, or are you against it? You don’t know? Well, don’t worry, you are not the only one. There are many organizations in the world that are fighting for the “people’s right to die with dignity” and there are also many other from the other side, fighting for the opposite. Churches are often the strongest opponents on this matter, they are taking the “other side”, fighting for a God’s will, a God’s choice when someone is going to die. Even though opinions on this matter are divided, it seems that “Churches” are taking the “victory”, as there are only 10 countries where euthanasia or assisted suicide are legal. Only 10 countries in the entire world. But, let’s not take only the official laws into account, we are pretty sure that more assisted suicides and euthanasia are happening all around the world than we are aware of. I guess there is always some way to avoid the law. Taking a stand on this matter should ultimately come from personal experience. How can anyone judge without knowing anything truly about it? About bearing with an incurable and painful disease of a loved one. Let’s just hope none of us will ever have to find out.
We’ve gathered information about countries where euthanasia or assisted suicide are legal from few different websites about euthanasia and assisted suicide, and we used the list available on Wikipedia, but we have also checked this information for each country separately, since these laws often change. Starting first with the countries where assisted suicide is legal to be moving on to countries where active euthanasia is legal, these are the ones we’ve found: