Life is defined as a miracle by many because its origination is still a mystery. There are many theories regarding how this miracle started. Abrahamic religions believe that it started with the creation of Adam and Eve by God. Evolutionists present the argument that all life forms originated from a single common ancestor because of phylogenetic similarity among species. Some theories suggest that an electric spark started life by generating energy. The miracle of life also brings with it a bitter reality — death. Mortality is not promised. Some people live for as long as centuries while some do not even survive after one breath. As birth is not under one’s control, death is also something which one usually does not decide. Some people die by natural causes, others lose their lives in unexpected accidents, while some take this decision in their own hands and commit suicide or get euthanised. This is where the well-debated controversy arises. Euthanasia means deliberately ending one’s life in order to relieve oneself from prolonged suffering. Euthanasia is frowned upon in the same way as suicide is. Instead, it is considered worse due to the fact that it is unethical as one is not thankful for having been given a chance to live again. Euthanasia is an active part of debates across the globe. The question which arises is that is the practice of euthanasia really justified? Countries which have legalised euthanasia claim that it is only allowed in cases where the patient is terminally ill and latest medical facilities fail to improve the subject’s condition. On the other hand, nations against it believe that ending a life in such a manner is murder. Although many argue that euthanasia is unethical and legalising it would lead to a slippery slope effect, it is deemed appropriate and justified in cases where patients are terminally ill because they have the right to exercise free will, it ends their prolonged suffering, they die with dignity and it makes scarce medical resources available. Euthanasia should not be likened to murder. Firstly, the person who makes such a decision is mature and if not, approval from his or her parents is taken. Secondly, the physicians are also consulted and the patients’ medical cases are thoroughly studied. It is made sure that the patient’s disease is incurable. Doctors cannot practice passive euthanasia in hospitals without the consent of the patient’s family. In Belgium where euthanasia is legal, conditions hold that “the patient must be conscious of their decision and understand the meaning of euthanasia”, “the request must have been approved by the child’s parents and medical team”, and “they must be in great pain, with no available treatment to alleviate their distress”. Murder does not involve the victim’s consent. If ending someone’s life is considered unethical, then isn’t prolonging one’s pain, which is terminal, unethical? Isn’t making a person to live against his or her will when he or she surely does not want to, unethical? Euthanasia is proposed in cases where palliative care for the terminally-ill patients fails. Keeping them alive on machines would be a vain attempt, it is argued Another claim made by the opponents is that it would lead to a slippery slope effect. The slippery slope effect in the context of euthanasia means that “if voluntary euthanasia were to become legal, it would not be long before involuntary euthanasia would start to happen.”. This claim is non-viable because euthanasia is only justified in cases where the patients’ themselves want to end their lives. Euthanasia does not give the doctors, and even the family to take decisions on the patient’s behalf. Even if everybody else thinks that death is the best option for the patient, no one has the right to perform any task without taking the patient into confidence. In contrast, proponents of euthanasia present the argument that every human being is born with the right to exercise free will and self-determination. The United Nations mentions this as Article 3 in Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”. Although being born is not one’s choice, the way one paves his or her life depends upon one’s potential, choices and skills. Passive euthanasia is another practice which is often performed in hospitals, and is sometimes criticised. Passive euthanasia is described as “the withdrawal of medical treatment with the deliberate intention to hasten a terminally ill-patient’s death.” Doctors usually practice this by switching off support machines such as ventilators or by injecting drugs. Cases of aborting a baby because it poses threat to the mother also come under this category. This practice by doctors is commonly known as mercy killing. Practicing euthanasia under all these circumstances is justified because it benefits the sufferer. It ends their pain once and for all. People generally perceive death as the worst outcome of all, because it snatches away all the joys and pleasures life provides. But terminally ill patients are already deprived of such pleasures. They usually wish for their lives to end but thinking about the way it will end further frustrates them. If such patients are praying for their lives to end, then why is not fulfilling their wish justified? Euthanasia provides patients with significant control over their lives and helps them in embracing death in a willful manner. Therefore, euthanasia is justified in cases where the patients are terminally ill as it relieves their prolonged pain, and if their death is a better option than keeping them alive then their opinion should be respected. In April 2015, a two-year old in Faisalabad, Abu Bakr, consumed a mosquito repellant. He was in an urgent need of medical treatment. His uncle, Zahid, rushed from hospitals to hospitals to find a ventilator which could save his nephew’s life. All ventilators were either in use or were out of order. It was too late when Zahid eventually got hold of one. “Due to the absence of facilities, sources say, from January to October in 2014, 2,136 children died at the paediatric wards of Allied Hospital.” Abu Bakr is one of the examples of children who die due to lack of medical facilities. One reason for this is the scarcity of medical equipment itself. But if looked from another lens, one more reason to explain this is that the medical resources available are used by patients who may not benefit from it. Death is a harsh reality to accept, but so is suffering from prolonged infliction which may never end. Debate about euthanasia has been going on for decades because deciding one’s death is a very difficult and emotional choice to make. However, one should not pass a judgement until imagining oneself in the shoes of the sufferers and imagine how much agony and regret they go through. Many argue that claiming the life of any living being by unnatural causes is unacceptable, but one should focus on the fact that patients are exercising their right of choice and therefore will make a decision beneficial for everyone. Euthanasia is justified in cases where palliative care for the terminally ill patients fails because keeping them alive on machines would be a vain attempt. Frowning upon euthanasia leaves patients with no other choice but to spend the rest of their lives in pain and wait for their death to occur. After all, what matters is how people spend life instead of how long they live. The writer is a student of biotechnology with an interest in current affairs, politics and journalism Published in Daily Times, September 14th 2017.