Euthanasia is a term derived from the Greek word “eu” meaning “good” and “thanatos” meaning “death“. It is a process to end someone’s life voluntarily to end the suffering of that particular person. It is also termed as ‘Mercy Killing‘.

The person either going through unbearable pain, incapacitating physical disorder, or incurable disease that requires mercy killing. Euthanasia is usually performed by the doctors at the request of the patient by withholding treatment or withdrawing artificial life support or injecting the patient with a drug for a painless death.

It is a very complex process that requires the authenticity of doctors, patients, and family members also keeping in mind the local laws. The doctor

In this article, we will discuss the types of Euthanasia and laws related to this term in India as well as other countries.

Types of Euthanasia

The term “Euthanasia” is classified into five different categories:-

  • Voluntary Euthanasia
  • Non-Voluntary Euthanasia
  • Involuntary Euthanasia
  • Passive Euthanasia
  • Active Euthanasia

Voluntary Euthanasia

The situation in which a patient makes a request to the physician to end his own life in order to end his/her suffering. This process requires the consent of the patient and the process must be explained completely to the patient.

It is also known as Physician-assisted suicide and is legal in Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, and several states of the US such as California, Oregon, Washington, etc. However, as per ethics, assisted suicide must be criminalized as it will lead to the killing of handicapped newborns as well as mentally ill persons and elderly.

Non-Voluntary Euthanasia

A situation in which the patient is unable to provide consent to end his/her own suffering. In these cases, a close family member usually takes the decision when the patient is in utter pain and is unconscious showing no improvements in his conditions.

This process is usually undertaken by withdrawing life support and further treatments. It is criminalized in all countries except in the Netherlands.

Involuntary Euthanasia

This process is undertaken against the consent of the patient. In this situation, the patient refuses to undertake mercy killing either due to fear of death or either they are not asked for consent.

It is criminalized in all the countries however was decriminalized in Nazi Germany under T4 programme and the US in 20th century.

T4 programme was built by Adolf Hitler in 1939 to kill those who are incurably ill, mentally handicapped, emotionally distraught and elderly. he also killed the inferior and those who threatens to the well being of the Aryan race. Around 2,00,000 people were killed within 4 years of the programme and was shut down by the Allied troops in 1945.

In 1938, Euthanasia society of America was formed and they advocated for voluntary as well as involuntary process. However, soon after their recommendation the organization realized the negative effects of involuntary mercy killing.

Passive Euthanasia

It is a process in which a person dies when the medical professionals lets a patient die by withholding the treatment keeping the patient alive by switching off the life-support system, or doesn’t go on with the surgery, stopping the use of drugs to extend the life span, etc.

In these cases, medical professional lets the patient die naturally or just letting them die instead of treating them. It is legal in many countries and Indian Supreme Court legalized it on 9 March 2018 and this decision was made in the Aruna Shanbaug case.

Active Euthanasia

A complicated process in which a patient requests to end his/her life to end their unbearable or incurable pain/suffering and the doctor deliberately injects a dose of drug to let a person die painlessly thus helping a patient in suicide.

In many countries, this process is banned as it is considered against the doctor’s ethics who is responsible for saving lives.

Many medical professionals also believe that letting a person die is far better than helping in causing death of a person. There have been many debates around the world whether it should be legalized or not.

Active Euthanasia is legalized in handful of countries such as Luxemburg, Netherlands, Belgium and some states of the US such as Oregon, Washington, etc. while passive is legal in many countries on moral grounds.


Another word for the term Euthanasia is mercy killing, but should it be legal whenever a person is suffering from endless pain or incurable and horrendous disease. Some people believe it should be legal while some opposes it.

The fact remains it is for the mercy of the people who provides consent but what about those who can’t provide their consent including children. Should their parents be given that authority to end their lives? Must every person suffering in this world be dead?

According to Forensic Yard, we believe only passive euthanasia be legalized under certain conditions such as the last stage of Cancer when the pain is unbearable because other cases provide a negative message to society.

If it is deemed legal every person suffering from mental illness, physically handicapped, etc. will believe that they must not live because another person suffering took mercy killing as an option and deliberately or not sent a message to the society that there is an option to end all their pain.

Every person has a right to live and death/suicide must never be an option.


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