Life is precious, but at the same time, living life isn’t easy, as there are many obstacles that a person will encounter as life progresses. Based on the lifestyles that we chose, such as smoking, overeating, and taking drugs, there can be many resulting factors that may lead a person to suffer as a result of their actions, i. e. : getting lung cancer from smoking. Although suffering may be mild or severe, it’s something that can’t be escaped. One way or another, anyone and everyone will suffer in some sense throughout their life, whether it be physically or emotionally.
As humans, we are passing away. Everyone will go when their time is near. Some people just can’t wait another because they feel that they can’t stand to suffer anymore. So they look to solutions such as committing suicide. Attempting to commit suicide is seen as a crime in most parts of the world, and is also seen as being morally wrong, as life is indeed seen as being precious. But what if a person is suffering from a sickness and has to spend their life in pain but doesn’t want to?
What if a particular person is relying on feeding tubes and/or other methods of life support to aide them in maintaining their life for as long as possible, and they or their family no longer wants this? What if the person just wants to die to end their suffering and their family’s suffering? Would it be okay for their life to end in such an instance? Many people’s views vary on what should be done in such situations as these. Euthanasia is the act of assisting a person in death to end pain and or suffering. In the Greek language, it translates to “good death”.
In most cases it’s done by a doctor, someone working in the medical field, or a trusted person of the individual wishing to die. Euthanasia can be put into these basic categories: Active euthanasia, which can be looked at as and assisted suicide, and passive euthanasia. When it comes to active euthanasia, known is mercy killing, it focuses on using medical skills, such as using prescription drugs, and knowledge as the main focus to assist in killing the individual, as opposed to passive euthanasia, in which the person assisting the individual in dying stops giving them the medication needed to help them live.
In cases dealing with assisted suicide, trusted people who were close to the individual seeking death such as their friends, members of their family, doctors and physicians, grant the individual their wish for assistance in ending their lives. There are many arguments that entail whether or not euthanasia is something that should be made legal or not. Some believe that life is precious and shouldn’t be ended before it’s intended to, regardless of the circumstances, while others believe that such a solution is a personal choice and that there are serious reasons as why a person should decide to end their life.
Examples of such arguments that describe viewpoints opposing euthanasia come from people descending from Christian backgrounds. Since many Christians believe that life is given by God, and that human beings are made in God’s image, life is sacred (BBC News, 2009). Also, many churches place an emphasis the importance of not interfering with the natural process of death because the process of dying is spiritually important and doing something to mess with this process, such as euthanasia, can interfere with the person’s spirit moving towards God (BBC News, 2009).
According to BBC News’ website, many Christians also believe that “patients in a persistent vegetative state, although seriously damaged, remain living human beings, and so their intrinsic value remains the same as anyone else’s, so it would be wrong to treat their lives as worthless and to conclude that they ‘would be better off dead'[…] patients who are old or sick, and who are near the end of earthly life have the same value as any other human being, and that people who have mental or physical handicaps have the same value as any other human being” (2009).
Thus, this says that even though a person is ill, this shouldn’t automatically give them a reason to think that they are better off being dead because in some way, their life still holds as much value as it did when they were in a healthier state. The Catholic Church in general has a lot to say on euthanasia. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being” (2258).
This is basically saying that the life of a person is solely in the hands of God, and that no one should have the right to end a life. When it comes to euthanasia, the Catechism states that if a person is suffering or “Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible” (2276). Euthanasia is seen as something that is “morally unacceptable” (2277). A person who is very ill should never stop receiving all the aide that they need.
The Catechism also complies with this, as it states the following: “Even if death is thought imminent, the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted” (2279). This statement puts a red flag towards the whole concept of passive euthanasia. Although there are many opposing views surrounding the idea of euthanasia, there are those who support it. Many people who support euthanasia believe wholeheartedly in autonomy, which focuses on individual freedom and liberty, not to say that those against euthanasia don’t believe in this also.
They believe that people should keep into consideration that a person “has biographical life — and this involves a person’s ability to state, formulate, and pursue autonomously chosen interests, desires, and so forth. If a person autonomously chooses to end his or her life or have someone else assist him or her in doing so, then it is morally permissible” (Moreland). By this, they mean that people should have the will to do what they please, since it’s their life, as long as it doesn’t have a negative effect on others around them.
Arguments supporting the idea also express that it’s cruel and inhumane to ignore the plea of a person who wants their life to be ended so that their suffering could cease (Moreland). Also, it’s believed that allowing a person to end their life in such a circumstance can be looked at an act of mercy. There have been a lot of cases regarding euthanasia that still play a role today and how people view this topic. One doctor who was known for assisting his patients to their death by, their consent, was Dr. Jack Kevorkian. He died last year at the age of 83. He was known as “doctor death”. He was put behind bars for 8 years for being charged with second degree murder, particularly in the case of Thomas Youk.
When asked in an interview, sometime after being released, if he would assist someone in suicide if they asked him, he said no. This is not because he’s against it, but he just doesn’t want to waste time in prison. (Roberts, 1:07) He was also asked if he would go back and do nything different. He responded by saying that he would’ve done all his assisted deaths earlier because it wasn’t worth going through prison and all the other stresses at his current age, the age that he underwent it through. He doesn’t look at himself as a criminal so he took it that prison wasn’t hard for him to endure. Most importantly, he was asked if he had no regrets whatsoever in helping patients with assisted suicide and he responded, “Why would I have regrets? That’s my duty!
I’ve been pleased to have done my duty, not like other doctors who cowardly turn away! ”(Roberts, 2:34-2:43). He was then asked about the case of Michael Jackson involving Conrad Murray. Although he wasn’t following the case, he believed that if Michael wanted the drug for him to die, Murray had the right to give it to him, as any doctor would have the right to listen to the wishes of their patients as long as it confided with regular medical ethics. Another sad and famous case was that of Terry Schiavo’s.
After ending up brain dead from cardiac problems, her parents didn’t want for her husband, Michael, to be her guardian anymore but they lost that particular case and he remained Terry’s guardian. Her parents wanted to strive to do every thing to help her remain alive while, according to her husband, she would not have wanted to live in her condition if she was aware of it (MSNBC). After a while, he ordered for her feeding tube to be removed and after a few up and down battles between him, the court, and the parents of Terry, he eventually got his order a done deal.
Her family became very upset because they felt that her rights were violated because she didn’t have an attorney. Euthanasia can be seen as being helpful or harmful. Still to this day, there’s a major debate on whether this should be legalized. Euthanasia is a topic that is not pleasant to discuss, as it would draw fear into some people. In life, we make our own choices. People fail to realize that certain factors that might cause problems, such as leading up to a person being hospitalized for life, living in pain and suffering can, in fact, be prevented.
Why would a person want to terminate their life? How would they know if the pain or suffering would even stay permanent? Miracles can happen. God would always be able to make away for a person who’s suffering, especially when it’s not their time to go yet. Yes, people are entitled to make their own choices, but death should be the last resort to take. Also, I personally wouldn’t have the heart to assist someone in dying. I would be traumatized. I’m sure that a person like Dr.
Jack Kevorkian probably wouldn’t want to assist someone dear to him, such as his mom, sister, daughter or wife, in dying. He’s definitely selfish. Euthanasia is just as bad as the death penalty, or abortion. It also seems that people take the whole idea of Euthanasia as a joke. I mention this because there’s a cult named the “Church of Euthanasia”, founded by someone named Chris Korda. This so called religion teaches a lot of blasphemies. They have a commandment stating that a person shouldn’t procreate. They also go by four pillars: suicide, abortion, cannibalism, and sodomy.
Their goal is to save the planet and in order to do this, the followers believe that they must eventually kill themselves, but by living, they should abide by the four pillars. That’s all bogus and nonsense if you ask me! Sadly, there are people who are adherents of this “faith”.
“Catechism of the Catholic Church – The Fifth Commandment. ” Vatican: The Holy See. Web. 07 Mar. 2012. . “Church of Euthanasia FAQ. ” Church of Euthanasia. Web. 09 Mar. 2012. . “Euthanasia and Assisted Dying. ” BBC News. BBC, 03 Aug. 2009. Web. 07 March 2012.