Examining Disagreements and Empathy Regarding Euthanasia and the Right to Pass Away with Dignity

Title: Examining Disagreements and Empathy Regarding Euthanasia and the Right to Pass Away with Dignity


Often referred to as “mercy killing” or “assisted suicide,” euthanasia is a contentious and highly emotive subject that calls into question one’s right to die with dignity as well as autonomy and ethics. With their consent, this method entails deliberately removing the life of an individual who has been suffering severe discomfort or a fatal illness. Euthanasia is a complicated topic with fervent arguments on both sides, and at its core lies the fundamental human freedom to choose one’s own course of action, choosing whether to live or die.

  • The Right to Die with Dignity

The right to die with dignity is based on the principle of individual autonomy. Autonomy emphasizes a person’s right to make decisions about their own life, particularly in matters related to their personal well-being and quality of life. When individuals face a terminal illness or a life filled with unrelenting pain and suffering, proponents of euthanasia view the option to choose when and how to end their life as a means to respect and uphold their autonomy.

  1. Reducing Suffering

The reduction of suffering is a key aspect of the right to die with dignity. Terminal illnesses often involve excruciating pain and immense physical and emotional suffering. Advocates argue that, under specific circumstances, allowing individuals to end their lives can be an act of compassion. By avoiding a prolonged, painful, and undignified death, individuals can find relief and have their suffering reduced.

  1. Medical Advances and the Prolongation of Suffering

Advancements in medical technology have made it possible to prolong life in ways that were previously unimaginable. While these advancements have undoubtedly saved lives, they have also raised ethical concerns regarding the quality of life in cases where the disease is terminal, the pain is unbearable, and the outcome is inevitable. Euthanasia provides an alternative to the often undignified and agonizing deaths that some patients may otherwise experience.

Controversies and concerns surround the topic of euthanasia. One major concern is the “slippery slope” argument, which suggests that allowing euthanasia could lead to a broader acceptance of the practice, potentially extending it to vulnerable individuals who are unable to give informed consent. To address this concern, safeguards and strict regulation are essential.

  1. Legislation and International Perspectives 

Euthanasia laws and regulations vary significantly around the world. Some countries, like the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, have legalized euthanasia under strict conditions, while others have completely banned it. In the United States, assisted suicide is legal in a few states, such as Oregon, Washington, and California, and is a subject of ongoing debate in others.

  1. Ethical and Religious Objections

Euthanasia is met with strong opposition from various religious and ethical perspectives. One argument against it is rooted in the belief that life is sacred and should only be allowed to end naturally. Another viewpoint asserts that human suffering serves a purpose and should not be expedited. The clash between these perspectives presents a significant barrier to the legalization of euthanasia.


The issue of the right to die with dignity is a matter that elicits strong emotions and differing opinions. Supporters right argue that it upholds individual autonomy and alleviates suffering, while those against it express worries about potential abuse, ethical dilemmas, and potential slippery slope. The discussion surrounding euthanasia underscores the necessity for well-thought-out and precise laws, stringent supervision, and a comprehensive exploration of the moral and ethical ramifications linked to this intricate subject. Ultimately, how society addresses euthanasia is a delicate equilibrium between empathy, self-determination, and safeguarding vulnerable individuals.

Author: Vishwjeet Kumar Choudhary, a Student of Assam University, Silchar




Q.1 What is the right to die and the right to die with dignity?

Answer:- The right to die is the legal and ethical concept that individuals have the autonomy to make decisions about their own death, often in the context of assisted suicide or euthanasia.

The right to die with dignity is a related concept, emphasizing that individuals should be able to end their lives in a manner that preserves their self-respect and minimizes suffering, particularly in cases of terminal illness or unbearable pain. It often involves access to medical assistance in dying and a compassionate approach to end-of-life care.

Q.2 Is the right to die with dignity a fundamental right in passive euthanasia?

Answer:- The right to die with dignity is often considered a fundamental right in passive euthanasia, where a person is allowed to refuse life-sustaining medical treatment or interventions to end their suffering in a humane and dignified manner, especially when facing a terminal illness or unbearable pain. This right varies by jurisdiction and may have legal and ethical implications.

Q.3 What is euthanasia and why is it an ethical issue?

Answer:- Euthanasia is the act of intentionally ending a person’s life to relieve suffering, typically due to a terminal illness or unbearable pain. It is an ethical issue because it involves complex moral, legal, and medical considerations. Some argue for the right to self-determination in end-of-life decisions, while others emphasize the sanctity of life and potential for abuse. Ethical concerns revolve around autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice, making euthanasia a contentious and debated issue.

Q.4 What are two ethical issues in euthanasia?

Answer:- Two ethical issues in euthanasia are:

  1. Autonomy vs. Paternalism: Balancing an individual’s right to make decisions about their own life and death (autonomy) with the potential for coercion or misguided judgments by healthcare providers or family members (paternalism).

  2. Slippery Slope: Concerns that legalizing euthanasia for specific cases may lead to broader and less regulated use, potentially putting vulnerable individuals at risk of involuntary euthanasia or abuse.

Q.5 When did euthanasia start in India?

Answer:- Euthanasia in India became a topic of legal and ethical discussion in the 2010s. In 2018, the Supreme Court of India legalized passive euthanasia and provided guidelines for the same in the landmark “Common Cause v. Union of India” case. This marked a significant development in the regulation of euthanasia in India.



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