Should an individual be allowed to choose assisted suicide with the help of a physician, or be forced to follow their theological beliefs of the dominant religion they practice when life seems pointless? The choice of whether to live or not live is directly influenced by the decision to indulge in a process characterized as “physician assisted suicide” or simply called Euthanasia. Many people believe it is solely left upon God to determine when death should occur, but some people believe that a doctor has the right to take their life and help the patient destroy it. In this paper I will be discussing what euthanasia is, how it affects the patients life, and the implication it has on the religious community as an unmoral act.
One may wonder why in the end to choose euthanasia as a means to deliberately end their life. Some individuals live in excessive chronic pain, some due to poverty or lack of health-care coverage and cannot afford pain-killing medication. Others are denied adequate painkillers because of their physician's lack of knowledge and or inadequate training. They have a terminal illness where disease has adversely affected their quality of life to the point where they no longer wish to continue living. Some have lost their independence and must be cared for continually or simply they realize that they will be dying in the near future and simply want to have total control over the process. But whatever the case may be, the people who decide to commit suicide are unable to accomplish the act alone. They need assistance from their physician to assist the suicide and help them die under conditions in which they wish.
Euthanasia includes the Passive and Active action of death. Passive Euthanasia can be defined as the hastening death of a person by altering some form of support and letting nature take its course. This can happen either by removing life support equipment, stopping medical procedures, stopping food and water and allowing the person to dehydrate or starve to death. The most common form of passive euthanasia is to give patients large doses of morphine to control pain. Such doses of these painkillers have a dual effect of relieving pain and hastening death and are mostly performed on terminally ill people in a persistent vegetative state.
Another type of euthanasia is Active Euthanasia, wh...
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...y hastening the hour of death, should be able to accept it with full responsibility and dignity,”(Declaration of Euthanasia).
Bohr, David. Catholic Moral Tradition. Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, (1999): 149-
“Catechism of the Catholic Church on Assisted-Suicide.” 2276 – 79., 2280-83
Edmund D. Pellegrino, Evangelium Vitae, “Euthanasia, and Physician Assisted Suicide.”
D.C.: Georgetown University Press, (1997): 240.
“Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.” International Task Force. © 1996 – 2004
“Euthanasia.” The Verbal Battle over Euthanasia.” Ontario Consultants on Religious
Tolerance. © 1997 to 2001 http://www.religioustolerance.org/
O’Connell, Timothy. Principles For A Catholic Morality. New York: Harper Collins,
“On the Value and Inviolability of Human Life.” A papal encyclical dealing with
life and death, also euthanasia.
Rachels, James. The End of Life: The Morality of Euthanasia. New York : Oxford
University Press, (1986)
Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. Declaration on Euthanasia. Boston:
Pauline Books and Media, 1990.
The Bible (King James Version). Michigan: Zondervan, 2000.
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