Euthanasia as a Global Issue
Euthanasia is a very sensitive and controversial topic which exists today. It expresses the weakness of human life, as seen in the Terri Schiavo case. Furthermore, if this sacred gift of life is taken away and individuals are ridded of their freedom, we as humans are not following in the footsteps of God. Also, individuals themselves, along with the afflicted, experience dire consequences, such as grief, remorse, guilt and redemption. In executing a philosophical approach, theorists also disagree with assisted suicide. Thus, the practice of euthanasia is immoral as it opposes humans’ rights of freedom, Catholic and theoretical views against mercy killing, as well as the passions and opinions of others.
Individuals’ rights are restricted in some cases, specifically when the victim is helpless. Terri Schiavo, a victim of euthanasia had been diagnosed with severe potassium deficiency. As a result of unwillingness to look after herself, her husband Michael decided to have her feeding tube removed. In doing so, helpless Terri died of “malnutrition and dehydration”. To many, this is seen as murder; to others, a restriction of Terri’s rights. Terri experienced irreversible brain damage, which left her “unable to think, feel, see or interact in any way with her environment”. Regardless of whether or not she had the ability to decide to live, her husband had no right to take her life. Terri was still very much able to express her feelings and emotions through her actions, gestures, and facial expressions. Levinas believes that “the face is a trace of God, and when one encounters suffering; he or she is bound to act” (Levinas). This means that all individuals are responsible for the ‘other’. Therefore, when one encounters anguish, he or she should help them. Terri’s husband Michael came face to face with his wife’s suffering; however, instead of helping her in a moral way, he chose to end her life. He may have thought that he was helping his wife by taking her life and suffering away; although, it would never be revealed whether that is what she wanted or not. Michael acted upon what he thought was wise-judgement; although, it costed an innocent life. Kant would approach this scenario, and theorize that her husband’s duty was not fulfilled. Many years ago, he vowed a lifetime of love and commitment to her, but his decision proves that he has not kept that promise. His duty was to love her unconditionally, “through sickness and in health”; however, due to her condition, he chose to part from her forever. It can be hypothesized that Michael was not looking for the good of Terri, but only for his own sake. This also connects to Aristotle’s teleological theory of seeking happiness and the common good. He states, that “in order to obtain the good things in life, we need to follow the path of rational thinking” (Aristotle). This means that, all individuals must think and act ethically, in order to seek happiness. Thus, Michael should have thought more about Terri’s well-being, rather than looking out for himself and whatever was convenient for him. God has blessed His children with the Theological Virtues of “FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE” (Aquinas). However, Mr.Schiavo appears to oppose these assets. Unlike Terri’s family, whom “in their hearts [believe] that their daughter would somehow recover” , Michael loses hope and faith. His love may be shown in a way that he saves her from misery; though, it is not unconditional. Unconditional love, also known as agape, means to love without conditions and to love regardless of a loved one’s qualities or actions; something Michael could not do. Terri Schiavo was unable to prevent the devastating event that happened to her; thus, her death was unnecessary. Terri’s freedom of choice as well as her life were taken from her, as a result of her inability to communicate.
Similarly, Catholics believe that no life should be taken, unless it is through natural causes or illness....
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