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Difference Between Suicide and Euthanasia

Suicide vs Euthanasia

Death is a subject that most people are uncomfortable with and refuse to talk about, but it is a reality that each one of us must face. This is due to the fact that we are naturally afraid of things that are uncertain and what become of us after death is very uncertain.

There are many causes of death; it may be the result of an accident, malnutrition, a disease, predation, or suicide and euthanasia.

Suicide is the act of killing oneself. It ranks number 13 on the leading causes of death in the world, with over a million people committing suicide every year.

On the other hand, euthanasia which is the process of ending a life in order to stop pain and suffering, can also fall into the category of suicide if it is voluntary. Voluntary euthanasia is done with the consent of the patient.

The patient will ask the physician to assist him bring about his death. Also known as assisted suicide, voluntary euthanasia is legal in the US states of Oregon and Washington and in the European countries of Belgium, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

While the purpose of euthanasia is to end the pain and suffering of a terminally ill person, a person that commits suicide can have several different reasons. Suicide is certainly committed out of despair or mental illnesses like depression and schizophrenia, including drug abuse and alcoholism.

Suicide is voluntary, meaning it is the person’s will to end his life while euthanasia can also be involuntary or non voluntary. Involuntary euthanasia is ending a person’s life against his will. Non voluntary euthanasia is ending a person’s life when he is unable to give his consent as in the case of child euthanasia.

Some contend that euthanasia can only be voluntary because ending the life of a person without his consent, as in the case of involuntary and non voluntary euthanasia is in fact, murder. This subject is still surrounded with controversy and debate in the medical and bioethics world.

In religious views, both kinds of death are wrong. Taking one’s life is against the beliefs and teachings of Abrahamic religions like Christianity. For them life is sacred and it is an offense towards God to take one’s life.

Other religions like Hinduism have a different view though. Hindus practice Sati wherein the widow, either on her own decision or under the pressure of her husband’s family, would immolate herself on her husband’s funeral pyre.

Summary

1. Suicide is the act of taking one’s life while euthanasia is the act of taking the life of another whether voluntary or not.
2. Suicides are voluntary but euthanasia can also be involuntary or non voluntary.
3. Suicide is done out of despair, while euthanasia is done to end the pain and suffering of a terminally ill patient.
4. Although death through suicide and euthanasia are considered wrong by some people and religions, others consider it part of their culture.


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1 Comment

  1. This article has a bias toward euthanasia, by saying it is used in “order to stop pain and suffering” but saying suicide is committed out of despair or because of mental illness. You never mention that the mentally ill commit suicide to end their pain and suffering. The motivation is the same.

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