Mercy Killing

Weighing mercy killing pros and cons against each other is the best way out if you are finding it difficult to take a stand on this issue. Continue reading for some important points of mercy killing debate which you can't afford to miss out on. Mercy Killing Pros and Cons"Right to live or death with dignity?

The entire controversy surrounding the practice of mercy killing revolves around this very question - with each side putting forth strong arguments for and against it. Even though the practice has been legalized in countries like Belgium and Netherlands, it continues to be an issue of contention in these countries even today. Not many people out there will be able to take a stand on this issue and - more importantly, support it with logical arguments.

This inability to take a stand on this issue can be attributed to our ignorance about basic mercy killings facts - including what is mercy killing, what is the procedure involved, what makes it amount to homicide, etc.

Mercy Killing Facts

Starting with the basic definition, 'mercy killing' refers to the practice of terminating the person's life - by removing the life support or by using a lethal drug, with the intention of relieving him of the pain and suffering that comes with his medical condition. On the basis of procedure involved, it can be categorized into two types - passive mercy killing and active mercy killing. When the person is put to death by removing life support (on going treatment, feeding, etc), it is referred to as 'passive mercy killing'.

On the other hand, when the person is put to death by means of some lethal drug, it is referred to as 'active mercy killing'. Even though mercy killing is also referred to as 'euthanasia' or 'physician assisted suicide', the term euthanasia is more often used in context of active mercy killing or active euthanasia.

One has to also take a note of the fact that this practice is categorized into three different types on the basis of the patient's consent. If euthanasia is carried out with the patient's consent, it is referred to as 'voluntary mercy killing'. If the same is carried out without the patient's consent i.e. against his will, it is referred to as involuntary mercy killing. There do exist cases wherein the patient is not able to give his consent because of the underlying medical condition (i.e. he may be brain dead or in vegetative state). In such cases, the decision is taken by the person's family members on his behalf, and thus it is referred to as 'non-voluntary mercy killing'.