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Euthanasia: Crime or Compassionate Act

In the world’s criminal justice systems, euthanasia is a controversial issue that involves the mercy killing of criminals. Depriving a criminal of life out of compassion is solved in three different ways worldwide. First, some countries treat euthanasia as any other murder from the criminal codes. Secondly, some countries perform euthanasia under privileged circumstances, and thirdly, in some Western Europe countries, euthanasia is taken as a medical procedure, legally provided by the law. Mercy killing attracts different opinions from legal, religious, ethical, and medical views and is reflected in interwoven concepts and different opinions worldwide. The debate over whether euthanasia is a compassionate act or a crime divides the unscientific and scientific public (Barbosa & Losurdo 2018). Admission of euthanasia throughout the century has remained an issue of impermissible deprivation of life. Still, it has moved towards whether euthanasia should be banned entirely or legalized. Some people view euthanasia as ordinary murder, while others view it as privileged murder.

In st countries, for instance, Islamic countries and east African countries, euthanasia has been banned as it is equalized with murder. In these countries, euthanasia is punishable by law, and the sentence is mostly the death penalty. Organizations have been created to represent the beliefs of the groups debating over either legalization or banning euthanasia (Patitan & Adhari 2022). The debate over euthanasia has not subsided for many years, and the supporters’ themes are mainly the immorality or morality of euthanasia or its feasibility or infeasibility. The main question is usually whether an individual has a right to die just as they have a right to life. Also, the question of the holiness of human life, the cost of living, and who has the right to end human life. The main problem is usually that the patient is not in a proper state to decide whether they want to continue living.

The supporters of euthanasia believe that the doctor has a moral obligation to terminate the life of a terminally ill patient suffering and that there should be strong individual autonomy in matters of life. They justify that euthanasia is done out of respect for the patient as ending the patient’s suffering shows concern for his wishes and care for the patient’s interest.

On the contrary, the law clearly states that all human beings have the right to live and that no doctors have the right to deprive one of life. The legality of euthanasia depends on the country in question. In some countries, euthanasia is seen as murder with intent and is explicitly mentioned in legal texts. In the United Kingdom, euthanasia is illegal (Kullolli & Hysa 2018). It is prosecuted as manslaughter or murder as encouraging or assisting a person to commit suicide or terminate their life is prohibited by Section 2 of the 1961 Suicide Act. A variety of non-governmental organizations and human rights activists have made policies against euthanasia and developed them. The Supreme Court has determined that no constitutional right allows physician-assisted suicide in the United States. People have the right to follow the medication they find best according to their judgment and ability without being forced.

In conclusion, the choice of the topic is motivated by the numerous debates that the subject has sparked and the opinions on whether the action of mercy killing is considered a criminal offense. There is an urge to introduce a concept of compassion, where murder is not just murder, but considering the killing as an act of care should be enough defense. Suppose a parent, spouse, or child has assisted the death of a close person suffering from a severe chronic illness, disability, or terminal illness. In that case, there should be a partial defense to diminish responsibility. Since death will still occur in one way or another, ending a person’s suffering should be right.


Barbosa, G. S. D. S., & Losurdo, F. (2018). Euthanasia in Brazil: between the Criminal Code and the dignity of the human person. Revista de Investigações Constitucionais5, 165.

Kullolli, B., & Hysa, A. I. (2018). Law and Society-Euthanasia and Criminal Law. European Journal of Social Science Education and Research5(2), 142-150.

Patitan, R. F., & Adhari, A. (2022, April). Reformulation of Criminal Policy Against Offenses Related to Euthanasia in the Context of Renewing the National Criminal Law. In 3rd Tarumanagara International Conference on the Applications of Social Sciences and Humanities (TICASH 2021) (pp. 966-971). Atlantis Press.


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