Essay euthanasia religion

People have claimed that suicide physician-assisted or not is " considered as a rejection of God's sovereignty and loving plan ". However, do we not live in a country established to protect individual rights and freedoms, including the right to freely practice or not the faith of our choice? It is against our constitution and customs to force a religious principle or religious-based law on all people whether they practice that particular religion or not.

If we allow these religious beliefs to govern our laws, then we are going against everything that so many of our ancestors fought for -- religious freedom for all. Euthanasia can be of great benefit to the patients most in need of it. Many people live the ends of their lives in severe, almost unbearable pain.

Euthanasia would only speed up the inevitable, but would save those persons from so much needless suffering. Euthanasia is also sometimes sought when the necessary medical expense to prolong a person's life for a very short time becomes incredibly large. Such patients may wish to pass any money on to relatives in their wills, or they may not wish to bankrupt their family by their final illness. In still other cases, people are affected by a serious disorder or disease that greatly diminishes their quality of life.

They may not wish to continue their hard life with no hope of relief. Still others feel that being severely ill and being cared for so continuously causes a loss of independence and dignity. Even if they never actually choose euthanasia, many wish to have the option available if it ever becomes necessary. Sponsored link. It should be apparent that euthanasia can be a positive option. Many people's severe suffering can be eliminated, merely by speeding up the inevitable natural process of death.

I feel that those who oppose euthanasia, or use some of the counter-arguments I have mentioned, have just not thought thoroughly about the issue from the viewpoint of a suffering patient near the end of life. Restrictions and guidelines can prevent the abuse of euthanasia, and religion is not a valid or appropriate reason. It should not be in anyone's power to force their religion beliefs into the law and onto those who do not share that religion.

The minds of such people should be moved, or at least an attempt should be made to convince them. I plan to send a letter to the authors of a web site on euthanasia. Hopefully they will take my thoughts and arguments into consideration. But if they do not, I still intend to keep influencing people, even if it is just by debating the issue at home. If I can properly express my opinions to others, then there is a greater possibility that they will change their minds, or pass on my thoughts.

I could also write to people such as journalists who have more of an influence on society than I do. In any case, I hope to change the minds of those who still reject euthanasia. Even if I persuade only one person, it will be worth the effort. Recommended books. Same-sex marriage.

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They tell lawmakers better care is needed, not killing.

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Over the past year, expenses related to the site upkeep from research to delivery has increased We would love to continue bringing you the content, but we desperately need your help through monetary donations. They believed that, while life in general should be lived fully, suicide could be appropriate in certain rare circumstances when deprivation or illness no longer allowed for a "natural" life. Unlike contemporary proponents of a right to suicide assistance, the Stoics believed that suicide was appropriate only when the individual loses the ability to pursue the life that nature intended.

In the thirteenth century, Thomas Aquinas espoused Catholic teaching about suicide in arguments that would shape Christian thought about suicide for centuries. In the Republic chap.


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As with suicide, the individual's subjective feelings about the merits of continued life had no bearing on the appropriatness of continued medical treatment. Interestingly, Plato did not apply this analysis to the severly ill and disabled elderly, who, he argued, should be permitted to live regardless of their ability to contribute to the community. See Cooper, He criticized those who "maintain that one should not offer violence to one's own life, and hold it accursed for a man to be the means of his own destruction; we should wait, say they, for the end decreed by nature.

But one who says this does not see that he is shutting off the path of freedom. The best thing which eternal law ever ordained was that it allowd to us one entrance into life, but many exits. Michel de Montaigne, a sixteenth-century philosopher, argued that suicide was not a question of Christian belief but a matter of personal choice.

In an essay presenting arguments on both sides of the issue, he concluded that suicide was an acceptable moral choice in some circumstances, noting that "pain and the fear of a worse death seem to me the most excusable incitements. In the early seventeenth century, for example, John Donne asserted that while suicide is morally wrong in many cases, it can be acceptable if performed with the intention of glorifying God, not serving self-interest.

Donne acknowledged the merit of laws against suicide that discouraged the practice, but he argued that civil and common laws ordinarily admit of some exceptions, suggesting that suicide could be morally acceptable in certain cases. He asserted that even if a person's death would weaken the community, suicide would 10 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, II-II, 64; D.

Brody, ; T. See the discussion below in this chapter. As Ferngren notes, suicide and euthanasia were discussed a generation earlier in satirical works by Erasmus and Thomas More, but it is unclear whether the authors intended to advocate these practices. Ferngren, He did not want it published during his lifetime, perhaps reflecting his discomfort with views that challenged the prevailing Christian ethics of his time. In Biathanatos, Donne acknowledges that he battled his own urge to commit suicide. Moreover, suicide would be laudatory if the person's death would benefit the group and the individual.

Hume did not advocate that all suicides are justified, but argued that when life is most plagued by suffering, suicide is most acceptable. Locke argued that life, like liberty, represents an inalienable right, which cannot be taken from, or given away by, an individual. Kant believed that the proper end of rational beings requires self-preservation, and that suicide would therefore be inconsistent with the fundamental value of human life. Autonomy, in Kant's view, does not mean the freedom to do whatever one wants, but instead depends on the knowing subjugation of one's desires and inclinations to one's rational understanding of universally valid moral rules.

In an work, schoolmaster and essayist Samuel D. Williams argued that "in all cases of hopeless and painful illness it should be the recognized duty of the medical attendant, whenever so desired by the patient, to administer chloroform, or such other anaesthetics as may by and by supersede chloroform, so as to destroy 14 D. Beauchamp and S. Perlin Englewood Cliffs, N. Beauchamp and Perlin, ; Beauchamp, "Age of Reason," Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, 3d ed. In , essayist Lionel A. Tollemache asserted that euthanasia could serve the patient's interests and benefit society in appropriate cases by removing an individual who was "unhealthy, unhappy, and useless.

The British Parliament debated a bill to legalize euthanasia in In the United States, similar proposals were introduced in state legislatures during the first half of the twentieth century, including New York State in The Euthanasia Society of America, an organization advocating such proposals, was founded in Distinguishing Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia Contemporary discussion has not focused primarily on the ethics of suicide itself, but on assistance to commit suicide and the direct killing of another person for benevolent motives.

Actions that intentionally cause death are often referred to as active euthanasia, or simply as euthanasia. Euthanasia performed at the explicit request of a patient is referred to as "voluntary" euthanasia. Euthanasia of a child or an adult who lacks the capacity to consent or refuse is often termed "nonvoluntary. For example, Roman Catholic authorities 18 "Euthanasia," in W.

Similar arguments were advanced in the debate on a bill to legalize euthanasia in the British House of Lords; see S. Reiser, A. Dyck, and W. In assisted suicide, one person contributes to the death of another, but the person who dies directly takes his or her own life. Many individuals hold similar positions on assisted suicide and euthanasia. Others find assisted suicide more acceptable, either because of the nature of the actions or because of differences they see in the societal impact and potential harm of the two practices.

For some, assisted suicide and euthanasia differ intrinsically. A physician who writes a prescription for a lethal dose of medication, for example, is less directly involved in the patient's death than a physician who actually administers medication that causes death.

With assisted suicide, the patient takes his or her own life, usually when the physician is not present. Accordingly, factors such as the physician's intentions may be more complex. In some cases, a physician may intend to make it possible for a patient to commit suicide so that the patient feels a greater sense of control, but may hope that the patient does not take this final step.

In addition, because the patient's own actions intervene between the physician's actions and the patient's death, the physician's causal responsibility may be less clear. When assisted suicide occurs, the final act is solely the patient's. It would therefore be more difficult to 22 The Vatican's "Declaration on Euthenasia" describes euthanasia as "an action or an omission which of itself or by intention causes death, in order that all suffering may in this way be eliminated. Government Printing Office, , Appropriate decisions to forgo extraordinary or disproportionately burdensome treatment would not be considered euthanasia, however.

This report does not discuss the criteria that characterize appropriate decisions to forgo life-sustaining treatment. The Task Force has addressed this issue in previous reports. By contrast, some patients would be too embarrassed or intimidated to express uncertainty to a physician on the verge of giving a lethal injection, or would be concerned that the doctor might be hesitant to administer the injection at a later time. Some individuals therefore distinguish cases when a physician assists a suicide by providing information or a prescription, which they believe should be permitted, from instances when the physician is present at the time of the suicide and directly aids or supervises the act, posing a greater risk.

Whatever differences may exist do not justify a policy of accepting one practice while forbidding the other. This view is shared by some who support both practices and by others who oppose both.

The Conflict of Religion and Euthanasia Essay examples

Howard Brody writes: "There are psychological reasons to prefer patient control over physician-assisted lethal injection whenever possible. The normal human response to facing the last moment before death, when one has control over the choice, ought to be ambivalence. The bottle of pills allows full recognition and expression of that ambivalence: I, the patient, can sleep on it, and the pills will still be there in the morning; I do not lose my means of escape through the delay.

But if I am terminally ill of cancer in the Netherlands and summon my family physician to my house to administer the fatal dose, I am powerfully motivated to deny any ambivalence I may feel. Watts and T. Quill, C. Cassel, and D. Graberand J.

Euthanasia: Right to life vs right to die

An opponet of both practices likewise argues: "If the right to control the time and manner of one's death - the right to shape one's death in the most humane and dignified manner one chooses - is well founded, how can it be denied to someone simply because she is unable to perform the final act by herself? Some claim that while both should be allowed, assisted suicide would be a preferable option in any particular case, in order to minimize the possibility of error. In New York and many other states, while both practices are felonies, assisting suicide is generally classified as manslaughter, while euthanasia constitutes second-degree murder.

These values have always been pursued within a social context, accompanied by commitments to promote the overall good of society and protect vulnerable individuals from harm. For some, the exercise of 29 D. As Dr. Aadri Heiner of the Netherlands describes his practice, "I will bring a small glass bottle, and I will hand it over and say, "This is for you. And that makes me very sure that it is his own wish.

The current debate about assisted suicide and euthanasia also presents questions about the way autonomy can best be realized, and the manner in which the tension between autonomy and other ethical and societal values should be resolved. One strand of the debate about assisted suicide and euthanasia has focused on whether the value of self-determination, which undergirds the right to refuse treatment, provides the basis for a right to assisted suicide or euthanasia as well.

Would the self-determination of severely ill patients actually be promoted in practice if assisted suicide and euthanasia were legalized? Does contributing to another person's death manifest respect for that person's autonomy? Questions have also been posed about the impact of legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia on the self-determination and well-being of individuals who do not seek out these options. Proponents Proponents of assisted suicide and euthanasia maintain that respect for individual self-determination mandates the legalization of these practices.

Individuals have a fundamental right to direct the course of their lives, a right that should encompass control over the timing and circumstances of their death. While few if any advocates argue for an absolute right to commit suicide, most believe that in appropriate cases suicide can minimize suffering or enhance human dignity, and that people in these circumstances should have the right to take their own lives. Individual beliefs about the meaning of life and the significance of death vary greatly.

For proponents, establishing assisted suicide and euthanasia as accepted alternatives would respect this diversity. As stated by one commentator: There is no single, objectively correct answer for everyone as to when, if at all, one's life becomes all things considered a burden and unwanted. If self-determination is a fundamental value, then the great variability among people on this question makes it especially important that individuals control the manner, circumstances, and timing of their death and dying.

Battin and D. Mayo New York: St. Martin's Press, , See also J. Many believe that, even if pain can be alleviated, the individual's right to control his or her death should prevail. Pain management and hospice care are better than ever before. But for some people they are simply the trees. The forest is that they no longer want to live, and they believe the decision to die belongs to them alone.

For others, the value of human life 35 Brock, See similarly R. Cassel and D. Dick Lehr reports that in every case of assisted suicide that health care professionals discussed in interviews, "patients were middle- to-upper class, accustomed to being in charge. Engelhardt, Jr. Still others assert that seeking to end one's life intrinsically contradicts the value of autonomy.

Like the "freedom" to sell oneself into slavery, the freedom to end one's life should be limited for the sake of freedom. Many reject euthanasia because it violates the fundamental prohibition against killing. They understand this prohibition, except in defense of self or others, to be a basic moral and social principle. This view is expressed within the context of diverse religious, philosophical, and personal perspectives. Assisted suicide is opposed by many for similar reasons; although it does not violate the ban against killing directly, it renders human life dispensable and implicates physicians or others in participating in the death of the patient.

Some emphasize that assisted suicide and euthanasia are not simply nonintervention in the private choice of another person. The participation of a second person makes assisted suicide and euthanasia social and communal acts, ones in which social, moral, and legal principles must be considered. Veatch, Death, Dying, and the Biological Revolution, rev. New Haven: Yale University Press, , Among the Biblical statements of this prohibition are Exodus , Deuteronomy , and Genesis Many religious traditions understand these statements as prohibiting suicide and assisted suicide as well as direct killing.

For an overview of the attitudes of diverse religious traditions, see R. Hamel, ed. On the significance of religiously influenced views for public policy deliberations, see, e.


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  6. Callahan and C. Campbell, eds. Beauchamp and J. Childress, Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 3d ed. New York: Oxford University Press, , Many religious traditions, including Roman Catholicism, challenge the notion of an autonomous right to end one's life, appealing to the social nature of human life and the mutual dependence of individuals in society. See, e. This point is also advocated in secular terms. In many cases, a patient who requests euthanasia or assisted suicide may have undiagnosed major clinical depression or another psychiatric disorder that prevents him or her from formulating a rational, independent choice.

    Other patients may feel compelled to end their lives because they lack real alternatives, due to inadequate medical treatment or personal support. Caine and Y. See also Glover, It is to create the wrong kind of relationship between people, a community that sanctions private killings between and among its members in pursuit of their individual goals and values. Pellegrino argues that while the doctor appears to place the initiative in the patient's hands and be merely "open" to suicide under the right circumstances, the physician actually retains control: "Ultimately, the determination of the right circumstances is in the physician's hands.

    The physician controls the availability and timing of the means whereby the patient kills himself. Physicians also judge whether patients are clinically depressed, their suffering really unbearable, and their psychological and spiritual crises resolvable. Finally, the physician's assessment determines whether the patient is in the 'extreme' category that, per se, justifies suicide assistance. Teno and J. Hendin and G. See also the sections discussing suicide and depression in chapter 1.

    As expressed by one doctor who manages a Latino health clinic, legalizing assisted suicide would pose special dangers for members of minority populations whose primary concern is access to needed care, not assistance to die more quickly. In the abstract, it sounds like a wonderful idea, but in a practical sense it would be a disaster.

    My concern is for Latinos and other minority groups that might get disproportionately counseled to opt for physician-assisted suicide. From the perspective of many religions, suicide itself is not an ethically sanctioned choice. Many religious traditions reject assisted suicide and euthanasia based on their understanding of general values, including appreciation for the life and value of each individual, the individual's responsibility to the community, and society's obligations towards all of its members, especially the poor and vulnerable. Many religions understand life itself as something that is entrusted to persons by God, entailing a sense of individual responsibility that is often expressed in terms of "stewardship.

    A recent study found that patients treated at centers that serve predominantly minority patients were three times more likely than those treated elsewhere to receive inadequate pain treatment. Elderly individuals and women were also more likely than others to receive poor pain treatment. Cleeland et al. Arkes et al. They may experience pain, physical discomfort, and psychological distress. Bettan et al. Brody, ; E. Feldman and F. Rosner, ed.

    Jakobovits, Jewish Medical Ethics, 2d ed. New York: Bloch, Christian stewardship of life, however, mandates treasuring and preserving the life which God has given, be it our own life or the life of some other person. See also Hamel, ed. See also K. Chapman and K. Foley New York: Raven Press, , Disagreement centers on how society can best care for these patients, and the consequences for others if the practices are permitted. The debate hinges in part on assumptions about the number of patients affected, the availability of pain relief, and the effect of legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia on the provision of palliative care.

    At the core are basic differences about what compassion demands for suffering individuals. Disagreement exists too about whether the availability of assisted suicide or euthanasia would reassure or threaten ill and disabled patients. They regard these actions as essential to fulfill a commitment to relieve suffering. Indeed, many feel that, in appropriate circumstances, a physician's desire to act compassionately towards his or her patient provides the strongest rationale for the practices.

    Contemporary advocates argue that, despite advances in palliative medicine and hospice care, a small number of patients continue to suffer from severe pain and other physical symptoms that available medical therapies cannot reduce to a tolerable level. In these cases, euthanasia or assisted suicide would directly end the patient's suffering. As articulated by several doctors, "The most frightening aspect of death for many is not physical pain, but the prospect of losing control and independence and of dying in an undignified, un[a]esthetic, absurd, and existentially unacceptable condition.

    Humber, R. Almeder, and G. Kasting Totowa, N. Others may experience anxiety, loneliness, helplessness, anger, and despair. Proponents of assisted suicide and euthanasia assert that only the patient can determine when suffering renders continued life intolerable.

    Most advocates assert that these actions would be appropriate only in rare cases, and that relatively few patients would be directly affected. They argue, however, that many individuals who never use the practices would benefit. Some patients would feel better cared for and more secure if they knew that their physician would provide a lethal injection or supply of pills if they requested these means to escape suffering.

    They believe that society all too often abandons these patients, adding to their suffering and sense of despair. However, they reject assisted suicide and euthanasia as unacceptable or harmful responses to these patients in need. They also believe that the likely harm to many patients far exceeds the benefits that would be conferred. Advances in pain control have rendered cases of intolerable and untreatable pain extremely rare. In exceptional cases in which symptoms cannot be controlled adequately while the patient is alert, sedation to a sleep-like state would remain an option.

    Allowing assisted suicide or euthanasia, especially 57 Brock, 11; Weir, ; Kasting. Miller and J. Coyle et al. Watts and Howell , in advocating assisted suicide, write: "We concede that there is another alternative: terminally ill patients who cannot avoid pain while awake may be given continuous anesthetic levels of medication. But this is exactly the sort of dying process we believe many in our society want to avoid. Kass states: "It will be pointed out [that] full analgesia induces drowsiness and blunts or distorts awareness.

    How can that be a desired outcome of treatment? Fair enough. But then the rationale for requesting death begins to shift from relieving experienced suffering to ending a life no longer valued by its bearer or, let us be frank, by the onlookers. Palliative care experts report that while sedation seems objectionable to many healthy individuals contemplating it in the abstract, most terminally ill patients and families find it acceptable. Nessa M. Coyle, R. While continual sedation can be an important option for patients in severe and intractable physical pain, it is a less practical option for patients whose suffering is primarily psychological and who may have years to live.

    Quill, Cassel, and Meier. It also would lead to the death of some patients whose pain could be alleviated. For some, this is an evident contradiction; causing death can never constitute a benefit. Capron writes: "'The difficulties in developing caring and creative means of responding to suffering discourage society as well as health care providers from greater efforts.

    A policy of active euthanasia can become another means of such avoidance I could not rid my mind of the images of care provided in our hard-pressed public hospitals and in many nursing homes, where compassionate professionals could easily regard a swift and painless death as the best alternative for a large number of patients.

    Most proponents of assisted suicide and euthanasia would agree with this statement but still believe that the practices should be available at the patient's option. Singer and M. Society has long discouraged suicide as a remedy for psychological suffering, even though many individuals who consider suicide are anguished and find relief in the prospect of death.

    Two physicians report that, while many hospice patients at times express a desire for death, almost none make serious and persistent requests for active euthanasia.

    Views on End-of-Life Medical Treatments

    They write: New patients to hospice often state they want to "get it over with. However, these requests are often an expression of the patient's concerns regarding pain, suffering, and isolation, and their fears about whether their dying will be prolonged by technology. Furthermore, these requests may be attempts by the patient to see if anyone really cares whether he or she lives. Meeting such a request with ready acceptance could be disastrous for the patient who interprets the response as confirmation of his or her worthlessness.

    Specifically, a patient could no longer stay alive by default, without needing to justify his or her continued existence. The patient will be seen by others and himself or herself as responsible for the choice to stay alive, and as needing to justify that choice. Given societal attitudes about handicaps and dependence, "the burden of proof will lie heavily on the patient who thinks that his terminal illness or chronic disability is not a sufficient reason for dying.

    Two psychiatrists offer a similar opinion; see Hendin and Klerman, While Velleman argues against establishing a law or policy permitting euthanasia, he believes that some patients would benefit from death and welcome euthanasia and that in such cases rules against euthanasia should not be enforced.