Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Euthanasia: Country-wise scenario

By Syed Akbar

Countries where euthanasia is legal

1. Albania
2. Belgium
3. Luxembourg
4. the Netherlands
5. Mexico

Countries where euthanasia is partially legal

1. United States of America (States of Oregon and Washington)
2. Australia (northern territory - but repealed now)
3. Switzerland
4. Japan (No specific rules, but euthanasia is practised with restrictions)

Countries where euthanasia is hotly debated

1. Canada
2. India
3. the United Kingdom


1. India: There have been debates all over country on the need to legalise euthanasia in India. The Central government is yet to take decision on  recommendation by Law Commission to legalise euthanasia for patients, who are terminally ill. Supreme Court says passive euthanasia can be made legal.

2. The United States of America: Mercy-killing is partially legal in that the patient can refuse to take medication to keep his vital functions alive.

3. Canada: Euthanasia is still illegal in Canada and attempts to legalise it in September this year have met with stiff resistance. The debate on the private bill on mercy-killing has been put on hold till February next year.

4. Luxembourg: Euthanasia has been legal in Luxembourg since March 19, 2009 on the condition that terminally ill patients have to seek permission from a panel of experts on health and ethics.

5. Australia: Euthanasia was legal for a brief period in parts of Australia. It was legalised in the northern territory region 15 years ago. Later, the Act was withdrawn.

6. Albania: Albania is the first country to legalise mercy-killing a decade ago, despite protests from religious groups. Five years prior to legalisation, the Albanian government had partially legalised it in 1995, permitting family members to take the decision on euthanasia.

7. Belgium: Mercy-killing has been legal in Belgium since 2002. But the laws are quite strict and those undergoing euthanasia will have to pass through a number of complicated procedures.

8. The Netherlands: Mercy-killing is not a crime in the Netherlands. The country enacted the law in 2002.

9. Switzerland: Euthanasia is partially allowed by Swiss laws i.e. consent of the terminally ill patient is needed.

10. Japan: There are no clear-cut laws on euthanasia in Japan. But mercy-killing is practised in many parts of the country in the absence of specific legislation, either legalising or banning it. Of course, there are a set of guidelines which have to be adhered to before going in for mercy-killing.

11. Mexico: It is partially legal in Mexico in the sense that only passive euthanasia is permitted. In passive euthanasia the terminally ill patient is allowed to die without attending to his medical and health needs.

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