RIGHT TO DIE

“We have no control over how we arrive in the world, but at the end of life we should have legal control over how we leave it.”

~ Sir Patrick Stewart

INTRODUCTION

The phrase “Right to die” may sound indifferent and confusing to some. Some might think of it as a joke. It has been a topic of immense debate in the public. But the reality is somewhat different. Like a person enjoys rights that are ensured by the state, Right to die is also gaining limelight as this right is being demanded in many democratic countries. Even though it may sound somewhat surprising but many countries like Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg, Netherland etc. have made it legal. Sounds weird right!

MEANING

The Right to die is a concept based on the concept that human beings have the right to end their own life, a way to end their sufferings and undergo voluntary euthanasia. The people who often possess this right are the people who are suffering from a chronic illness, or have lost their interest in life, as it is thought that such people should have a legal way to end their pain. But the above concept goes against the duty of State to protect the life and property of its citizens.

The legal definition of right to die defines it as a law legalizing the self- administration by a terminally ill person of life ending medication prescribed by a physician. Even different religions prescribe different ways to practice the same. The Hindu and Jain religion prescribe fasting as one of the way attain freedom from life, while Catholics believe it to be sin.

Euthanasia is different from assisted dying as the former is the act of intentionally ending a life to relieve suffering while the latter is intentionally helping other person to kill themselves often by the use of strong sedatives.

TYPES OF EUTHANASIA

  • Active Euthanasia: it involves injecting the willing person with a sufficient amount of medication that slowly kills the person without any pain and difficulty. But active euthanasia requires the consent of the patient.
  • Passive Euthanasia: in this way, all the extra treatment and medication to keep the patient alive is withdrawn. This cuts off the minimal chances of keeping the patient alive. This method is mostly used for patient in Persistent Vegetative State (PVS).
  • Voluntary: as per the name, the voluntary euthanasia requires consent from the concerned person or his authorized guardians to end his life. The consent should be free and should not be obtained from coercion.
  • Involuntary: it refers to the performance of euthanasia on a person without the consent of the person. This amounts to murder.
  • Non- voluntary: if the condition of the patient is such that s/ he can’t make a decision, the family may take the decision of performance of euthanasia on the patient’s behalf for his/ her betterment.

 COUNTRIES PRACTISING EUTHANASIA AND ASSISTED DYING

Many of the developed and developing nations have recognised euthanasia as a right of the citizens and have legally recognised and codified them into laws. Countries like

  • Switzerland: The country has legalised assisted dying but the person has be of a minimum age and should be suffering from any chronic disease. But euthanasia is not legal in the country.
  • Australia: As of 29 November 2017, the state of Victoria passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Victoria) after 20 years and 50 failed attempts. It came into force on 19 June 2019 and has 68 safeguards to prevent any wrong use of the act.
  • India: The Supreme Court has legalized Passive Euthanasia (withdrawal of treatment

 or food that allows the patient to live) as of 2018 in the case of Aruna Shanbaug case [(2011) 4 SCC 454] but with certain prerequisite like it should be with the consent of the patient or family member and the patient should be chronically ill. 

  • Netherlands: The country legalised voluntary euthanasia and assisted dying with conditions like it can be only be performed by doctors and it must be practiced by the patients suffering from an incurable disease and is hopeless to become fit again. Any practice of euthanasia without fulfilling these conditions is considered to be illegal.
  • Colombia: With the motive to provide the terminally ill patients their right to die a dignified death, the Constitutional Court of Colombia issued an order to Ministry of Health and Social Protection 30 days to publish guidelines regarding the practice of euthanasia and assisted dying for seriously ill patients on 15 December, 2014.

Many other countries like Belgium, Canada, Germany, Spain etc. have also legalised euthanasia and assisted dying on the demands of the nationals.

VIEWS ABOUT EUTHANASIA

The subject of euthanasia is full of opposite views as any other topic would have. While many people in its favour argue that people should have the freedom when to end their lives and should be helped if they cannot perform the same. They believe that as death is a natural process, no law should ever prevent it and those who want to end their lives voluntarily should not be stopped from it. While those against it argue that the practice can be used wrongfully and can be used to kill people who don’t even want to die. They believe that as life is provided by God, only he has the right to take it back and we don’t have the same right.

CONCLUSION

No matter how much debate takes place, the subject of right to die will always remain controversial. While many countries have already legalized these practices, many are considering about legalising it. Though it provides a way of ending one’s suffering but still it can also be used to abuse and kill people. But just the saying that if one has the right to live on their own terms, then one should also have their own right to die turns the whole argument upside-down.

REFERENCES

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_die#:~:text=The%20right%20to%20die%20is%20supported%20and%20rejected%20by%20many,patient%20seeks%20to%20end%20it.
  2. https://www.theweek.co.uk/102978/countries-where-euthanasia-is-legal
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthanasia_in_India
  4. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/182951#history
  5. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-47158287
  6. https://blog.ipleaders.in/right-to-die-all-you-need-to-know-about-it/

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN THE SAME, DO LET ME KNOW.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at secondinnings.hr@gmail.com

In the year 2021, we wrote about 1000 Inspirational Women In India, in the year 2022, we would be featuring 5000 Start Up Stories.

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