Euthanasia around the world

Photo by Dan DeAlmeida

How accessible is euthanasia?

Euthanasia has been a hot topic of discussion for a long time now. At the same time all its different types can be controversial. But are they legal? Depending on your location you may have access to legal types of euthanasia. This depends not only on your country’s regulations but also local laws. 

For instance, euthanasia is generally illegal in the US; however, there are certain States such as Oregon, California and Washington where physician-assisted suicide (PSA) is legal.

North & South America

We already briefly discussed euthanasia in the USA, but here is a detailed list of American states and districts where physician-assisted suicide is legal: States of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont and Washington and also in Washington D.C. Finally, the State of Montana has a legally ambiguous approach to euthanasia.

Additionally, there are interesting approaches towards euthanasia in the other countries of North and South America. For instance, in Canada and Colombia active voluntary euthanasia is legal. Additionally, in most countries – including the US – passive euthanasia is also legal, in the form of rejecting or withdrawing treatment.


Western Europe has the most countries with legalized active voluntary euthanasia. This includes Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands – the first country to legalize active euthanasia in 2002. Spain has also legalized active euthanasia in June of 2021.

This list grows longer, though, if we speak of PSA instead of euthanasia. Specifically, Austria and Switzerland have legalized assisted suicide under specific conditions. Moreover, Germany and Italy have legalized physician-assisted suicide but the laws have not yet properly implemented. Specifically, the governments of these countries are not yet regulating the practice. Most of the rest of Europe is legally allowing for passive euthanasia.


Active euthanasia is illegal in all African nations. In most countries, passive euthanasia is either not regulated or also illegal. South African regulations seem to allow for passive euthanasia. However, the debate on PSA and active euthanasia is raging in the country for decades.

Other countries that allow for passive euthanasia are Namibia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Zambia and Ethiopia.


Active voluntary euthanasia is not legal anywhere in Asia. However, Japan may be an exception to that. Although it has no official laws on euthanasia, there have been some precedents set in favor of both passive and active euthanasia.  In addition to these, passive euthanasia is legal under certain circumstances in India and South Korea. There is also a small number of countries where passive euthanasia is not regulated. In the majority of countries, both active and passive euthanasia are illegal.


Active voluntary euthanasia is legal in New Zealand and in the Australian States of Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia.

The rest of the island nations of the Pacific tend to have stricter approaches to euthanasia. However, for countries such as Kiribati or the States of Micronesia, the exact legal framework towards passive euthanasia is unclear.

Final Thoughts

The list above has been last updated in January 2022. Myend doesn’t offer legal advice regarding euthanasia and the above is just a general overview of the practice. Furthermore, you should always check with your local authorities and national organizations to make sure if euthanasia or PSA is available in your region.

Finally, if you would like to read more on euthanasia, we highly recommend our articles on the basics of euthanasia, its eligibility criteria, as well as the euthanasia debate.

A euthanasia statement is also part of Myend’s end-of-life planning services. Curious to learn more? Sign up today completely free of charge and experience the end-of-life services of the future.

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Myend is not a law firm, it does not engage in the practice of law, and it does not render any official legal advice. Therefore, you are hereby advised to seek your own legal counsel regarding any legal issues. Myend’s articles are meant to be taken as suggestions and therefore Myend carries no responsibility for the user’s actions.