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5 global developments in euthanasia, assisted suicide laws in 2020

5 global developments in euthanasia, assisted suicide laws in 2020

Euthanasia
Doctor Stephane Mercier visits a patient at the palliative care unit of the AP-HP Paul-Brousse hospital in Villejuif near Paris. |

The push for right to die laws gained momentum worldwide in 2020 as nations known for permissive euthanasia and assisted suicide laws loosened regulations on who can choose to die and other countries began to embrace similar policies.

While euthanasia and assisted suicide remain contested subjects in legislatures and courts, support for allowing people to choose when and how they die, particularly if they are suffering from a disease, Westernized nations are passing legislation and referenda permitting the practice. Some bioethicists are even making the case that euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide enhances one's quality of life and is beneficial for society. 

Proponents of euthanasia and assisted suicide often couch their advocacy for the right to die in terms of eliminating needless suffering, especially if the sufferer has a terminal physical illness like cancer.

Opponents of the practice often assert that it's not medically ethical to intentionally end someone's life, no matter how much they might be suffering. And that if it's allowed for some circumstances it will inevitably be permitted for others, thus yielding a moral "slippery slope."

Here are five of the most notable political developments regarding euthanasia and assisted suicide around the world this past year.

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