Euthanasia or Mercy killing is referred to as the medically assisted death of a person who is terminally ill. Many of us have come across this term or have seen a couple of scenes in a movie or two, if not heard about it around ourselves.
It is a brewing controversial issue that has been debated over decades based on basic human rights, just like every other right to include the "right to die" along with the right to life. The “Right to die” has been legalized in some countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, parts of America, and in some states of Australia but is also banned in many of the countries that still have the orthodox belief where the doctors are still bound to the old oaths. The topic of mercy killing or euthanasia has both supporters as well as protesters which has been made clear enough in the issued argument regarding it in the Supreme Court.
History of the beginning
The term Euthanasia comes from two Ancient Greek words: ‘Eu’ means ‘Good’, and ‘thantos’ means ‘death’, so Euthanasia means good death.
(According to Britannica) The permission of euthanasia initially dates back to the time of Socrates, Plato, and the Stoics. It is yet rejected in traditional Christian belief because it is thought to disregard the proscription of murder in the Ten Commandments. The organized movement for the legalization of euthanasia commenced in England in 1935, when Dr. Charles Killick Millard founded the Voluntary Euthanasia Legalization Society (now called Dignity in Dying). The society’s bill was defeated in the House of Lords in 1936, as was a motion on the same subject in the House of Lords in 1950 while in the United States of America the Euthanasia society was founded in the year 1938.
However this topic has been laid out on the table for the audience to take in as per their perspective and this debate cuts across complex and dynamic aspects such as legal, ethical, human rights, health, religious, economic, spiritual, social, and cultural aspects of the civilized society.
Euthanasia in India
In India, mercy killing has been legalized in March of the year 2018, which can only be implemented by woke permission of the patient or their close ones in a living will, given the condition of chronic and incurable illnesses or even in the case of vegetative state, which was fueled on a go after the renowned case of Aruna Shanbaug who was in the vegetative state for 42 years until her death in 2015.
In some orthodox countries, the idea of euthanasia is still banned as suicide is also considered "illegal” out there but isn’t it only fair to relieve a person from their prolonging pain as long as it is assisted by a lawful system? If Euthanasia on animals are seen as kindness to let them off the pain by putting them to sleep, why isn’t it the same for human beings to die less painfully in their last days of suffering?
As per the studies, Euthanasia is explained to be a complex matter and there are many different types of euthanasia. It may be classified according to consent divided into three types.
Voluntary euthanasia: It is when the person who is killed has requested to be killed.
Non-voluntary euthanasia: It is when the person who is killed made no request and gave no consent. In other words, it is done when the person is unable to communicate his wishes, being in a coma.
Involuntary euthanasia: It is when the person who is killed made an expressed wish to the contrary. In other words, it is involuntary when the person killed gives his consent not to die.
Long sufferings whilst in terminal illnesses end up hurting the sentiments of both the person who is suffering as well as their loved ones, hence affecting them physiologically as well as psychologically. However, for some euthanasia performing institutions, consent is seen as a criterion but to some others, consent is seen as essential. According to them, killing a person without the person's consent (non-voluntary or involuntary) is not euthanasia but murder, and hence euthanasia can be voluntary only.
As per the studies of euthanasia and the classification given above, it is also further divided into two types according to means of death.
1. Active euthanasia:
Also known as ‘Positive Euthanasia’ or ‘Aggressive Euthanasia’. It refers to causing the intentional death of a human being by direct intervention. It is a direct action performed to a person’s existence by giving a lethal dose of a drug or by giving a lethal injection. Hence, active euthanasia is usually a quicker means of causing death and all forms of active euthanasia are considered illegal.