Thursday, April 13, 2017

Euthanasia - Abortion

I do not understand why society believes abortion and euthanasia is such a dichotomy. Both, involve taking a life.  One is taking your own life and the other is taking the life of another. It seems to me that abortion (taking the life of another) is far worse than voluntary euthanasia, the ending of your own life, when you no longer want to contend with constant physical suffering and your life quality is zero.  Yet, people vote to make abortion legal, the Supreme Court of the United States upholds abortion laws making it legal and society will flock to the streets in masses if legal abortion is ever in danger of being overturned. 

Abortion is taking the life of an innocent person that has no say in the matter.  Voluntary euthanasia is taking your own life and you make the choice.  Yes, I concede non-voluntary euthanasia is wrong just as I believe abortion is wrong.   

People argue voluntary euthanasia will lead to non-voluntary euthanasia.  Abortion of babies in the mother’s womb has not led to killing children outside the womb.  So, how can one argue on that basis one is wrong and the other is okay.  If one is morally or ethically wrong then both are.  I do not hold that it is an issue of morality or ethics when speaking of voluntary euthanasia. 

People who are "pro-life" are generally opposed to anyone taking any life - even their own - for any reason.

But, what is life without quality?  I have diabetes, in the final stage of heart failure, kidney failure, and COPD (lungs failing).  I am in constant pain, I cannot walk five steps without breathing spasms and basically confined to sitting.  To me that is not life!   I have been told by all my doctors my condition cannot be cured, it will never get better, it will get worse and all they can to is try to SLOW the progression.  That is not very comforting to me and I do not know anyone in their right mind that would applaud a doctors effort to prolong their suffering.  Now, I can stop the seventeen plus medications and suffer even more to achieve a solution – I guess.  If it is God’s will I believe I would live with or without the medication. 

Am I a coward, of course I am.  I want to end my life quickly and not have it drag on for days, weeks, months or even years before it happens by removing medication.  I really see no honor in being afraid to die and choosing to be a burden on those around me.  I have cared for two people that suffered for years, my mother and my uncle.  I could not have possibly loved my mother more than I did and I have no regrets for taking care of her, but was it extremely difficult – yes it was!  Did I ever have thoughts that I wished her suffering would end – yes I did and then I would feel guilt for weeks for having such a thought.

I believe before any act of euthanasia may be committed the suffering person must make some kind of assessment of the value of their life with the assistance of medical professionals, mental professionals and legal professionals.  There should be a waiting period involved to guarantee that someone does not wake up one day and decide this is a good day to die.

 The practice of euthanasia is Biblically wrong because it violates the principle that life is given by God. God does not approve of “hands that shed innocent blood” (Proverbs 6:16-17). Life comes from God. It is God’s decision to give life and to take it away (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Job 1:21). In the Bible, shedding innocent blood is called murder (1 John 3:15; Genesis 9:6).  I do not need ten thousand replies telling me what the Bible says about the subject. 

The death of King Saul an example of euthanasia or suicide? (1 Samuel 31:1-6). Saul did not want the Philistines to find him alive, because he knew they would torture him. He asked his armor bearer to kill him. When the armor bearer refused, Saul fell on his own sword and died. Saul committed suicide, but he did it in order to avoid suffering at the hands of his enemy. He murdered himself to prevent suffering prior to it happening and therefore was guilty of sin in my eyes. (Exodus 20:13). 

I have a difficult time relating killing yourself because you do not want to be taken by your enemy and suffering from a physical disease without any hope of ever getting better.  You may say that I am greedy, but I have worked and saved all my life and I have no desire to give all my money to doctors and hospitals and pharmaceutical companies when before I die I could give it to the poor. 

My father worked hard all his life and saved for his retirement and my education .  The last eleven days of his life he beg my mother and I to let him die and stop giving everything he had planned on my mother and I having to doctors when we all knew it was hopeless.  Of course we could not or would not end treatment and in the end we went from being a high middle class family to poverty.  His final hospital bill was 275,000 dollars, a lot of money in 1958.  The experiments like inserting a pigs valve in his heart did not help him and it has not help me now that I suffer as he did.

I know some Christians are thinking not all suffering is bad.  Even though we may not always understand why we suffer, some good can come from it.  The apostle Paul understood this (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). He had a “thorn in the flesh” which he asked God to remove, but he was made to realize it was for his good. Job is also an excellent example of this point (James 5:11).  I would be lying if I said I have not learned from my suffering for I have.  That does not mean I want to continue to suffer.

Do not tell me I do not respect human life.  I have been told when people understand and respect the sanctity of human life, they will not vote to end it.  You want to end it if you respect the life of your loved ones that are also suffering because of you.

I view euthanasia as the end of suffering when there is no hope of ever recovering from the illness and you are in need of life support (mechanical or medicinal) in order to barely hang on to life, it would be beneficial for both the patient and his/her family members to just let them go.  By allowing them to die peacefully, painlessly and quickly.  They will die on their own terms, rather than forcing them to live and let the disease slowly kill them.

I recognize the negatives of euthanasia and that is it could be abused by physicians and others who have the power to use this method of ending life. And more importantly, though the chances of recovery from certain diseases may be minimal, it is a known fact that some overcome this mountainous feat.  That is why I feel strongly only the suffering victim should be able to make the choice.  My niece was advised to remove all life support from my sister because she only had days to live, but my niece refused.  She continued to live three years most of it spent in a hospital and suffering.

Don’t insult me as one person did by saying a teenager that flunks a test or fails to make the football team may be suffering as much as I am and ask me would I say he has the right to end his life because he is suffering.  I will tell you as I told the person who said that to me – “You are a fool”.

I feel obligated to tell Catholic what our church says about euthanasia - So-called “mercy killing” and the efforts of the Hemlock Society and the late Dr. Jack Kevorkian to make euthanasia socially acceptable are condemned by the Church.

God alone should decide when someone leaves this earth — not the patient, doctor, or caretaker. Keeping the dying patient pain-free, comfortable, clean, nourished, and hydrated — and just allowing the natural death process to take its course — is how human beings die with dignity.  In other words if you die a miserable death you die with dignity and God is well pleased – I guess that is how they feel.  Our church always thought it was good for people to suffer. 

When death is thought imminent; the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted. The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable.

In closing, It is always unfair to directly kill an unborn child; the unborn have no say in what happens to them, and whatever interests are placed above theirs are done so in a biased and self-serving way. But this is not true in most cases of physician assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia: in some cases death really is what the patients desire and what they ask for.  This does not mean that they are right in desiring and asking, nor that it would be right to comply; but it does indicate that the wrongness of euthanasia cannot exclusively be the wrong of unfairness to the person killed. This is a decision I should be able to make for myself – not you make for me.

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