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Religious Studies

Judaism: euthanasia

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Euthanasia is not suicide but the assisted ending of someone's life who is suffering. Most religions offer teaching on euthanasia and the end of life.

Types of euthanasia

Euthanasia is illegal in the United Kingdom but it was legalised in certain circumstances in the Netherlands in 2002 and assisted suicide was legalised in the State of Oregon (USA) in 1997.

There are two principal types of euthanasia:

  • voluntary euthanasia - the person concerned asks someone to help them die, perhaps by asking for help to take an overdose of painkillers
  • involuntary euthanasia - euthanasia is carried out without the patient’s consent, for example, if they are in a persistent vegetative state and no longer able to live without a lifesupport machine, which is then switched off

Remember that a person's decision to take their own life is known as 'suicide'.

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