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Are there any circumstances in which euthanasia would be right?

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Introduction

Are there any circumstances in which euthanasia would be right? Euthanasia is normally thought of as providing a gentle and easy death to someone suffering from a painful, terminal disease who has little quality of life. This can be done by assisted suicide, voluntary euthanasia or non-voluntary euthanasia. Under British law, all these methods of euthanasia are crimes and people involved in them can be set to prison. This is an area of great controversy especially as some countries, such as the Netherlands, have made euthanasia legal if it is agreed to by the patient, the patient's relatives and at least two doctors. Some people believe that euthanasia should be legal, as a possible choice for people who want it. They say that it is unreasonable that fit people can choose to commit suicide, but that people who are not well enough for this cannot make the same choice. It is cruel to force someone to endure long suffering, when you could do something about it - most people would have their pets put down if they were suffering from an incurable illness, so why should this same kindness not be allowed for humans? The Voluntary Euthanasia Society works to change the law to allow for people to make "advance directives"; these are statements which tell others what the patient's wishes are, in case they reach a stage when they cannot speak for themselves but want to be allowed to die. ...read more.

Middle

The fact that death is directly intended by the action, undertaken by either the doctor or the patient, is critical here. They key moral or ethical point is the intention - the move behind the act. The Catholic Church regards suicide as wrong because of their view on the sanctity of life. Life is created by God and so it is sacred to God. It is up to God, not humans, when people die. "You are not your own", St. Paul declared (I Corinthians 6:19). "If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord" (Romans 14:8). To commit suicide, therefore, is to put oneself on a par with God, which is condemned in the Scriptures. Catholics regard assisted suicide, voluntary euthanasia and non-voluntary suicide as wrong because they are a form of murder, as euthanasia goes against the commandment, "Do not kill", it is indeed murder. People are taking upon themselves God's role, which is a grave sin. It is up to God to decide when to take a person's life, and humans should not interfere with that process. "Not striving to keep alive" causes problems for religious believers. Euthanasia devalues life by making it disposable - it could be the first step on to a slippery slope. The Catholic Church accepts that treatments which prolong life, but do not cure, do not need to be given if the patient does not want them. ...read more.

Conclusion

It offers the chance to put Christian teaching into practice. The parable of the sheep and the goat warns that God will judge people on how they have helped those in need. Furthermore they would argue that the doctor's diagnosis may be wrong. The chance of a cure or miracle is thus removed if euthanasia takes place. People do recover in many cases recover from illnesses and accidents against all expectations. Finally it could be argued that the doctor/patient relationship would change as doctors take the Hippocratic Oath to reserve life. The legalization of euthanasia could cause patients to wonder if the doctor is doing everything possible to cure them. In conclusion then to answer the question "are there any circumstances in which euthanasia would be right?" depends on one's faith. While I have clearly outlined the case for and case against euthanasia I must answer the question from a Roman Catholic's point of view which is NO, there are no circumstances! According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible. Whatever its motives and means, direct voluntary euthanasia consists in putting and end to the lives of the handicapped, sick or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable. Thus an act or omission, which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his creator. ...read more.

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