Right To Die: Euthanasia & Human Rights

This is one of the most debated topics in the world and that is euthanasia. Euthanasia literally means good death but in this context it means mercy killing. The debate is regarding the legalization of euthanasia. This debate is a continuing one as some people are of the view that life is sacred and no one has got the right to end it whereas on the other hand some say that life belongs to oneself and so each person has got the right to decide what he wants to do with it even if it amounts to dying.

In our day to day life we often come across terminally ill patients that are bedridden and are totally dependent on others. It actually hurts their sentiments. Looking at them we would say that death will be a better option for them rather than living such a painful life; which is painful physically as well as psychologically. But if on the other hand we look at the Netherlands where euthanasia is made legal, we will see that how it is abused there. But the question that lies before us is which will be a better option. Some basic points regarding euthanasia are discussed and then it is totally on the reader to decide which will be better: legalizing or not legalizing euthanasia. Although the Supreme Court has already given its decision on this point but still some doubts arise in our point which we need to analyze carefully and reach at a conclusion.


Euthanasia literally means “good death.” It is basically to bring about the death of a terminally ill patient or a disabled. It is resorted to so that the last days of a patient who has been suffering from such an illness which is terminal in nature or which has disabled him can peacefully end up his life and which can also prove to be less painful for him. Thus the basic intention behind euthanasia is to ensure a less painful death to a person who is in any case going to die after a long period of suffering. Euthanasia is also popularly known as ‘mercy death’ as it is given to lessen the pain of the patient. Euthanasia is practiced so that a person can live as well as die with dignity.

The right to one’s life is declared to be the fundamental natural right, on which every other right depends for its existence and its validity.When an attempt is made to justify euthanasia by using claims about human rights, it will be seen how problematical these claims become when they focus only on a single right, and when that one is of doubtful validity. Wide disparity between doubtful and genuine rights is not, however, commonly taken to be the prompt for some necessary exploration of the gap; rather the gap is simply ignored. The common reasons to want legalized euthanasia can be categorized as: seeking the compassionate relief of pain and suffering, providing protection for doctors who behave compassionately, showing respect for human rights and assisting in the containment of health costs.

There is a common presumption that there is a “right to die,” in the sense of an autonomous right to choose the time and manner of one’s death, and that an appeal to this right will be sufficient ground for legalizing euthanasia. There is an ethical right to die, in the sense of a right to be allowed to die, when one is dying and it is in one’s interest to die, by discontinuing or not commencing unwanted, burdensome and/or futile medical treatment, and by providing all necessary comfort. But this is not what is meant in the context of euthanasia. Otherwise his life will be no better in that situation. Thus, considering the financial and medical facilities also, the question still lies open that what will be better-allowing euthanasia or not allowing euthanasia.

Celeste Botonakis

On the Nursing Assistant Guides blog, certified medical assistant Celeste Botonakis explores the daily life of a CMA. She'll keep you up-to-date with the latest on what’s happening in the field, and provides tips for those who are interested in becoming a medical or nursing assistant. Celeste has served in the medical field for over six years, and is passionate about helping people. She currently works at CSR Primary Care in Skokie, Illinois. Click here to learn more about Celeste Botonakis and NursingAssistantGuides.com.