The word “euthanasia” comes from combining two greek words: “Eu” meaning “good”, and “thanatos” meaning “death”. So euthanasia actually means “good death.” The idea is that a death is good if it is painless. Now an important distinction must be made: not all painless deaths are euthanasia. Only those deaths in which an individual directly causes the death of another as a means of eliminating that other person's pain are euthanasia. For example, if a doctor lethally injects a paraplegic who has many years to live but asks to be put to death because he can’t stand the psychological distress of not having his full mobility--that’s a case of euthanasia. However, a case of someone who dies normally from a disease (for example, from cancer) while under sedation (so that this person does not feel pain) is not euthanasia. In short: euthanasia involves killing the patient to eliminate the pain, while normal end-of-life care involves eliminating the pain so that the patient can die painlessly, from natural causes (e.g. disease or old age). Nobody is against eliminating the pain when a patient is dying. But everyone should be against killing the patient as a means of eliminating pain. Some people think they are for euthanasia because they are for allowing a patient to refuse treatment for a terminal illness when that treatment is judged disproportionate. For example, some would say: “If living means I have to be hooked up on life-support machines for months and months, then I would rather die.” However, refusing treatment in this case is not euthanasia. If you have cancer, and you refuse another painful chemotherapy session, and then you die, the cause of death is the cancer, not the doctor or yourself. We call it euthanasia when your doctor or someone else intentionally causes your death, before your death is caused naturally by disease or by old age. And this is something everyone should be against, in every circumstance. Here’s why: The Bible tells us that it is God who appoints people to die. Essentially, assisted suicide is an attempt to deny God his sovereign right to appoint who dies when. We must be careful not to take into our own hands the right that belongs to God. There is nothing in the Bible that tells us we must do everything we can to keep someone alive for as long as possible. So, we are not under obligation to prolong the life of someone who is suffering. If someone is terminally ill and in great pain, we should make the person as comfortable as possible during this process of dying. We should not hasten his death. Instead, we should let death take its natural course, but make every effort to comfort those who are suffering. Finally, like so many things in the world, when a small compromise is made many injustices are eventually allowed. If euthanasia is permitted under the emotional and moral claim that it is best for the individual, what is to prevent the government from eventually stepping in and determining who else needs to be terminated? Might the definition of euthanasia be expanded to include those who are suffering from chronic depression, or just don’t like living -- or are not productive in society? We must ask that if the door to killing people in their old age is opened, can it ever be closed again? Think about it. The beginning of life is now open to destruction in abortion, and the end of life is now being considered for destruction as well. Like a vise that closes from either end, how many of those in the middle will fall prey to the depravity of man's moral relativism and love affair with sin that always brings death?
PRO Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide
CON Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide
1. Right to Die
PRO: "The right of a competent, terminally ill person to avoid excruciating pain and embrace a timely and dignified death bears the sanction of history and is implicit in the concept of ordered liberty. The exercise of this right is as central to...
References: June 5, 2001
CON: "The prohibition against killing patients..
Mar. 22, 2005
CON: "Cases like Schiavo 's touch on basic constitutional rights, such as the right to live and the right to due process, and consequently there could very well be a legitimate role for the federal government to play
"Frequently Asked Questions," www.internationaltaskforce.org
(accessed May 27, 2010)
-- Unitarian Universalist Association: The Right to Die With Dignity, 1988 General Resolution
Unitarian Universalist Association
CON: "Not only are we awash in evidence that the prerequisites for a successful living wills policy are unachievable, but there is direct evidence that living wills regularly fail to have their intended effect..
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