From ArticleWorld

Euthanasia is a complex term that, in the strictest sense, means allowing an individual to die in a painless or merciful way without suffering and with their express consent.


Euthanasia, in some cases, can refer to the withdrawal of medical treatment, fluids and feeding in the dying patient who does not wish to have these things and would be uncomfortable in the dying process should such treatments be implemented. This is legal in the US and in the Netherlands and is supported by an individual’s living will or advanced medical directive.

Indirect euthanasia refers to a healthcare provider or pharmacist providing a dying patient with the means to facilitate his or her own death without further assistance. In the US, this is legal only in the state of Oregon.

Direct euthanasia refers to the direct involvement of a healthcare provider who induces the death of the patient by such practices as lethal injection. This is legal in Belgium and in the Netherlands but not in the US.

Voluntary euthanasia involves the fully-informed request for death from a completely competent adult with a severe illness.

Involuntary euthanasia involves the assisted death of a person who objects to being euthanized. This is illegal everywhere.

Nonvoluntary euthanasia involves the assisted death of a person who doesn’t have the capacity to decide their own medical decisions are euthanized without being told.

Another type of euthanasia involves sedating a terminally-ill patient and withholding a patient’s food, fluids and treatment in order to facilitate a calm and peaceful death.

Legal issues

In 2002, both Belgium and the Netherlands passed laws allowing some form of euthanasia. In Oregon, only indirect euthanasia is legal. In many other countries, such as Canada and Australia, there have been failed attempts to legalized euthanasia policies of different sorts. In the US, the state of Texas has a “Texas Futile Care Law”, which allows doctors to refuse treatment for an individual that has a terminal illness if the person cannot afford to pay for their care within 10 days.

Cultural and religious issues

Religion appears to play a role in euthanasia opinions. Liberal Protestants are the most supportive of euthanasia while the Catholic Church has voiced firm opposition to euthanasia. Conservative Protestants seem to be more opposed to the practice as well. Overall, Caucasians are more supportive of euthanasia and are more likely to have living wills than are minority groups.