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French President Supports bill for medically assisted death: “Help to Die”

Why is it in the news?

  • The French President has thrown support behind a bill that would legalize medically assisted death. If passed, France could join other European nations in legalizing euthanasia for terminally ill patients.
  • The proposed legislation aims to offer individuals the choice of a less painful death when death is inevitable.

Euthanasia

  • Euthanasia, also known as mercy killing, is a practice aimed at ending a patient’s life to alleviate suffering and allows for a dignified passing.

Types of Euthanasia

  • Active Euthanasia: Active euthanasia involves a deliberate intervention to end a person’s life, often through the administration of lethal substances like injections. This form of euthanasia is permitted in countries such as Belgium, Canada, and the Netherlands.
  • Passive Euthanasia: Passive euthanasia involves the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment or support, such as turning off a ventilator or discontinuing medication. Countries like Austria, Finland, and Norway allow passive euthanasia.

Arguments For Euthanasia

  • Personal Autonomy: Supporters argue that individuals should have the liberty to execute a living will and refuse treatment if they wish to avoid prolonged suffering.
  • Dignified End: Euthanasia advocates emphasize the importance of allowing individuals to die with dignity, sparing them unnecessary pain and distress.

Arguments Against Euthanasia

  • Sanctity of Life: Opponents argue that euthanasia devalues human life, as taking a life, even with consent, is inherently wrong and goes against moral principles.
  • Medical Ethics: Critics contend that euthanasia contradicts the core principles of medical ethics, which include the duty to care for and preserve life rather than hasten death.
Legal Status of Euthanasia in India

·       India does not have a dedicated law on euthanasia.

·       The Supreme Court of India has recognized passive euthanasia.

·       Key Judicial Pronouncements:

1) Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug vs Union of India (2011): This landmark case saw the Supreme Court permitting passive euthanasia for the first time in India.

2) Common Cause vs Union of India (2018): The Supreme Court held that individuals in a persistent vegetative state can opt for passive euthanasia.

3) Recognition of Right to Die with Dignity: The Supreme Court has declared that the right to die with dignity is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

 

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