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Ethical aspects of euthanasia (Greek for "good death"), a physician-assisted suicide of a patient with a goal of ending the suffering from a terminal or incurable illness, were debated since the times of Hippocrates. Since then, although modern medicine made a great deal of progress, euthanasia and its validity as a medical practice still leads to controversies. Should a patient in great suffering be able to end his life with the help of a doctor?


Arguments supporting this position



Article 6.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights approved by the United Nations states, that "every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life". Proponents of legal euthanasia argue, that the human right to life should also include a one's right to die with dignity and the refusal to grant it violates the freedom of an individual.

The Argument

Humans have an innate right to life. Such right includes a right to self-determination, autonomy, and dignity. Denying an individual an access to legal euthanasia in case of painful, terminal illness constitutes a violation of his rights to make autonomous decisions about his well-being. Neither a state, physicians or other people should be able to force a person to go on living against his will.

Counter arguments

Various formulations of the right to life do not imply the opposite "right to die" - such interpretation is unfounded and not recognized by the majority of international tribunals and law academics.


Each individual has an innate right to life. This right includes a freedom of making autonomous decisions about his life. Therefore, an individual should have a right to terminate his life in case of incurable, painful illness, since it's an autonomous decision concerning his life.

Rejecting the premises

The right to life is concerned only with an unlawful and arbitral deprivation of life. It does not give a right of choosing death over life to an individual.


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This page was last edited on Sunday, 19 Aug 2018 at 20:32 UTC