Involuntary euthanasia is not always murder. Non-voluntary euthanasia or mercy killing involves ending the life of the patient, without consent as in such a circumstance consent from the patient would not be available. Non-voluntary euthanasia involves killing a patient who may otherwise not want to die. Active euthanasia involves the use of a lethal substance or a lethal dose of a substance in order to end the life of the patient. In passive euthanasia, the life of the patient is ended by withholding life saving treatment. Except for passive euthanasia, all other forms of euthanasia are not approved by the legal systems of many nations. In the year 2009, several states across the world including Oregon, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg, Washington and Switzerland permit some form of euthanasia. Whereas in the state of Oregon, the final step of ending one’s life would be performed by the patient (Physician-assisted suicide or PAS), in Netherlands, active euthanasia is permitted under the law to people suffering from terminal diseases (C Duncan 2004).
With regards to euthanasia there are several ethical, legal, moral, religious, social, political, medical and family issues. Most religious systems across the world do not permit euthanasia, as ethical and moral principles go against ending a patient’s life so as to alleviate suffering. Medically, euthanasia is not favorable as it would not go in line with the duties of the doctor nor be in line with the Hippocratic Oath. Legal systems across the world do not favor euthanasia, except the above mentioned few. Most of the indigenous communities across the world and the Western civilizations have actually considered euthanasia to affect he ethical principles and hence have gone against it (Stanley Krippner 2010). However, there may be a cross-cultural difference