Euthanasia

.. oal in life to continue living. Our natural reflexes and responses fit us to fight attackers, flee wild animals and dodge out of the way of trucks. In the daily lives, people exercise the caution and care necessary to protect themselves and the bodies are similarly structured for survival. When one is cut, the blood clots, and fibrogen is produced to start the process of healing the wound.

When one is sick, antibodies are produced to fight against the alien organisms. Hence, euthanasia does violence to this natural goal of survival. It is literally acting against nature because all the processes of nature are bent towards the end of bodily survival. It is enough to recognize that the human behavioral responses make the continuation of life a natural goal. By reason alone then, euthanasia sets people against their own nature, and in doing so it does violence to ones dignity, which comes from seeking our ends. When one of the goals in life is survival and actions are taken to eliminate that goal, then the dignity suffers.

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Unlike animals, human beings are conscious through reason of their nature and their ends. Thus, euthanasia denies basic human character and requires that people regard themselves or others as something less than fully human. Central to both Catholic and Protestant theology on the question of euthanasia, is the conviction that God is Lord of Life and Death. This conviction is another way of affirming that the ultimate value and sanctity of human life comes from God. This conviction implies that no one can ever claim total mastery over ones own or anothers life.

In other words, life is Gods loan to people; not only because life is grounded in God but also because God has given people life as a value to be held in trust and to be used according to his will. Saint Thomas Acquinas thus taught: That a person has dominion over himself is because he is endowed with free choice. Thanks to that free choice a man is at liberty to dispose of himself with respect to those things in this life which are subject to his freedom. But the passage from this life to a happier one is not one of those things, for ones passage from this life is subject to the will and power of God. Since life is a gift from God then the primary responsibility of each human being is to honour God in ones living.

A decision to take ones life thus appears to be a denial that one belongs to God. It should also be noted that God does not abandon people in times of suffering. Pain may seem unbearable, life might seem no longer worth living, suffering may appear beyond relief, but suffering calls upon people to trust God even in the valley of the shadow of death. As John Paul II affirms, Christ has taught men to do good by His suffering and to do good to those who sufferNo institution can by itself replace the human heart, human compassion, human love or human initiative, when it is a question of dealing with the suffering of another. It calls on people to let God, and not suffering, determine the agenda of their life and their death. Therefore, being contrary to the Christian teachings, euthanasia should no longer be allowed to continue.

Euthanasia is not acceptable as it accustoms society to violence. Most doctors and nurses are totally committed to saving lives. A life lost is for them, almost a personal failure, and an insult to their skills and knowledge. Euthanasia as a practice might alter this. It could have corrupting influence so that in any case doctors and nurses might not try hard enough to save the patient. They might decide that the patient would simply be better off dead and take the steps necessary to make that come about.

This attitude could also carry over to their dealings with all patients less seriously ill. The result would be an overall decline in the quality of medical care. The most powerful objection to the legislation of euthanasia is that once society begins to allow some people too kill others, it will begin sliding down a slippery slope that leads to killings of a kind that no one wants. It will start with strict controls designed to ensure that euthanasia is only carried out after a patient in an unbearable condition has repeatedly requested it, but it shall gradually slide to euthanasia for people who are not capable of requesting it, or for people who are not suffering unbearably, but whose continued life puts a burden on their families. In the end we will end up with a state that, like Nazi Germany, kills all those whom it considers to be unworthy of life.

It is the slippery slope argument that helped to persuade the Supreme Court of Canada to rule against Sue Rodriguez. Although Rodriguez argued that assisted suicide is contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights, which has in it a clause guaranteeing equal protection and benefit of the law to all, and ruling out discrimination on the grounds of disability, in the view of the judges a prohibition on assisted suicide was reasonable and justified by the need to protect life, and particularly the lives of vulnerable members of society. Therefore, people should recognize euthanasia as harm done to society. To conclude, euthanasia should not exist in any society, as no person in the world has a right to murder another human being. Euthanasia is an ethical posture, which gives up on life support.

It is not death itself but the dying process that frightens individuals, which is why many turn to death when suffering. The appeal for release is certainly understandable, but killing the patient, even when done with the kindest of motives, is not the moral way to address the problem. We may legitimately seek for others and for ourselves an easeful death. Euthanasia, however, is not just an easeful death, but it is a wrongful death and it is not just dying, but in fact killing. Bibliography Baird, M.

Robert and Rosenbaum, E. Stuard. Euthanasia: The Moral issues. Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1989. If Mercy Killing Becomes Legal. 3 March 2000.

http://www.euthanasia.com/mercy.html Johansen, Jay. Euthanasia: A Case of Individual Liberty? 3 March 2000. http://www.ohiolife.org/euth/liberty.htm Key Points for Debating Assisted Suicide. 3 March 2000. http://www.euthanasia.com/debate.html Peck, M. Scott, M.D.

Denial of the Soul. 1st edition. New York: Harmony Books, 1997. Singer, Peter. Rethinking Life and Death. New York: St. Martins Press, 1995.

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