Image: Courtesy

Euthanasia, often referred to as "mercy killing," is the deliberate painless termination of a person's life to relieve them from suffering, typically due to a terminal illness or unbearable pain.

Doctors sometimes perform euthanasia when it’s requested by people who have a terminal illness such as stage 4 cancer and would rather go at their convenience rather than be eaten up by the ailment.

While it's a controversial topic worldwide, Kenya, like many other countries, prohibits euthanasia due to ethical, religious, and cultural reasons. In Kenya, life is highly valued, and the sanctity of life is deeply ingrained in its cultural and legal frameworks.


That is why suicide is also illegal and on occasion punishable by law.

Additionally, there are concerns about the potential for abuse (if allowed) and the slippery slope towards involuntary euthanasia.

However, some countries such as Canada, Argentina, Australia, Colombia, and the Netherlands to mention but a few have laws that support mercy killing. 


Despite allowing the procedure these countries demand stringent conditions to be met.

Protestors in Austrilia demonstrating for the dull legalization of mercy killing (euthanisia)
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In most countries in which euthanasia is legal, a few conditions such as the physician administering the process must have nothing to gain from the patient's death, the patient must be suffering from a terminal illness with no hope of recovery or in significant pain.

Others have additional requirements, such as forbidding the physician from offering euthanasia (Australia) if the patient has to request the process themselves or requires at least one additional physician to confirm the diagnosis (Netherlands).

Besides Kenya, several other countries have a big no-no policy when it comes to mercy killing.

To mention just but a few, some of the countries where euthanasia is illegal include:

1. United Arab Emirates: Influenced by Islamic principles, the UAE considers euthanasia as against religious and cultural norms.

2. Poland: With a strong Catholic influence, Poland upholds the sanctity of life and prohibits euthanasia.

3. Russia: Euthanasia is illegal in Russia due to similar religious and cultural beliefs.

Euthanisia is illegal and punishable by law in Kenya

The debate over euthanasia legalization is complex and centres on moral, ethical, legal, and medical considerations.

Proponents argue for the right to die with dignity, autonomy over one's body, and the relief of suffering for terminally ill patients. They believe it can be a compassionate and humane choice in certain circumstances.

On the other hand, opponents raise concerns about the potential for abuse, the slippery slope towards involuntary euthanasia, and the sanctity of life.

They argue for better palliative care, support for terminally ill patients, and the preservation of the doctor's role as a healer rather than a facilitator of death.

Ultimately, the debate around euthanasia legalization reflects broader societal values, perspectives on individual autonomy, and the balance between compassion and the protection of vulnerable individuals.

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