Euthanasia, or doctor-assisted suicide, is a legally and ethically controversial practice. Supporters argue that everyone should have the legal autonomy to end their life if they so choose, particularly for those who face unbearable pain and suffering from terminal illness. In addition to religious opposition, others contend that euthanasia gives too much power to doctors, particularly in cases where mentally unstable patients are unable to make their own decisions about assisted suicide and can easily be persuaded.

The most contested form of euthanasia, where a doctor gives a patient a lethal injection, is only legal in Belgium, Colombia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands-  only under specific conditions. Assisted suicide, a less extreme version of euthanasia where a physician provides counseling or prescribes a lethal dose for the patient to use, is legal in Canada, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, and certain states in the United States. More countries are processing legislation on the topic every day.

With ongoing developments throughout the world, we wanted to get a better understanding of European attitudes towards euthanasia. Our survey results show that 38% of Europeans overall would support legalising euthanasia. Among the largest 6 EU countries, support was highest in Germany at 53%, unsurprising considering the legal status of assisted suicide in Germany. In Poland, one of the most devoutly catholic countries in Europe, just 24% support the measure. Though we did not find significant differences by gender, support for euthanasia is higher among older respondents than younger respondents (spanning from 29% among 14 to 20 year olds to 41% among ages 50 to 65).

 

 

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