Countries where euthanasia, assisted suicide is legal

 | Updated: May 13, 2022, 11:32 AM IST

Euthanasia or mercy killing is defined as an act of painlessly putting to death persons suffering from a painful and incurable disease or incapacitating physical disorder or allowing them to die by withholding treatment or withdrawing artificial life-support measures.

Let's take a look at the countries where this process is legal:


Colombia on Thursday became the first Latin American country to authorize assisted medical suicide for patients under a doctor's supervision, according to a constitutional court decision.

The country's highest court ruled that a doctor can help a seriously ill patient take their own life by consuming a lethal drug, without risking going to jail.

Colombia already allows euthanasia, where a doctor is the one to administer a life-ending drug to a patient.

Colombia decriminalized euthanasia in 1997, and in July 2021 a high court expanded this "right to dignified death" to those not suffering from a terminal illness. 

Fewer than 200 people have opted for euthanasia in Colombia since 1997, according to official data.

It is the first and only Latin American country to have taken this step and one of just a few in the world, and did so despite being mostly Roman Catholic. 

The church categorically opposes both euthanasia and assisted suicide.


Spanish lawmakers approve bill legalising euthanasia

Spanish lawmakers on Thursday legalised euthanasia and assisted suicide for people with serious and incurable or debilitating diseases who want to end their life, making Spain the fourth country in the European Union to take the step.

The lower house of parliament's vote in a final reading was 202 in favour, 141 against and 2 abstentions. Until now, helping someone end their life in Spain carried a jail term of up to 10 years.



In April 2002, Netherlands became the first country to legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide.

It imposed a strict set of conditions, according to it the patient must be suffering unbearable pain, their illness must be incurable, and the demand must be made in “full consciousness” by the patient. 

Children as young as 12 can request assisted dying, but parental consent is needed for those under 16.



Belgian National Security Council (CNS) extended the coronavirus lockdown until April 19. If the number of infections and hospital admissions does not fall by that date, lockdown will be extended until May 3.

Belgium declared a lockdown for the whole country, starting from 18 March until 5 April.



Assisted suicide and euthanasia are both legal in Luxembourg for adults.

Patients must have an incurable condition with constant, intolerable suffering and no prospect of improvement.



Canada allows euthanasia and assisted suicide for adults suffering from “grievous and irremediable conditions” whose death is “reasonably foreseeable”.

In Quebec, only euthanasia is allowed.



The Australian state of Victoria passed voluntary euthanasia laws in November 2017 after 20 years and 50 failed attempts.

To qualify for legal approval, a person must have an adult with decision-making capacity, and must be a resident of Victoria, and have intolerable suffering due to an illness with life expectancy of less than six months, or 12 months of suffering from a neuro-degenerative illness.