Passive Euthanasia Essay

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Pope John Paul II once said, “ A man, even if seriously sick or prevented in the exercise of its higher functions, is and will be always a man … [he] will never become a ‘vegetable’ or an ‘animal’. The intrinsic value and personal dignity of every human being does not change depending on their circumstances.” This quote signifies that no matter what one is going through, they will always have the same value and should have the same reason of living as any other human being. This idea dictates whether or not one should choose to take their own lives with the usage of euthanasia. Patients may think they don’t have any value being ill and will end their lives because of that. This leads to the two main viewpoints, secular and catholic viewpoints. Secular has one main viewpoint of passive euthanasia being a personal choice. The catholic viewpoint is that passive euthanasia is only okay in certain circumstances. Therefore, segments of secular society argue that passive euthanasia is morally permissable, the Catholic church and grade 12 course concepts argue that this type of euthanasia is only morally permissable in select circumstances.

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Socitey can view euthanasia in many ways. Some negatively and some positively. These opinions may not be morale acceptable or ethically right but are reasons that people use to justify the reasonings behind the act of euthanasia. The standpoint that is mostly used by indviduals, is the fact that euthanasia is ones personal choice. “We have no control over how we arrive in the world but at the end of life we should have control over how we leave it,” said Sir Patrick Stewart, who is a Dignity in Dying Patron. Dignity of Dying is a big campaign that run out of the UK for euthanasia and assisted suicide. They argue that a person should have the ability to choose for themselves on if they would like to use euthanasia or assited suicied. This shows how society really views euthanasia in places where euthanasia isn’t legal, like the United Kingdom. This leads to society as a whole, proposing that one’s autonomy is important in this choice. Autonomy is defined as being one’s capacity to be their own individual, and live life with own reasoning and morale. People with autonomy are seen as making decisions themselves and having the ability to determine their own destiny, and be respected for those decisions. Society see’s that one should have autonomy in deciding whether euthanasia is right for them. The decision might be immoral but that decision that they made should be respected in the secular view. With many indviduals advocating for euthanasia being a personal choice, Canada has made it legal along with 10 states in the US with two of them requiring court approval. This shows how society is making euthanasia viewed as a acceptable action. Passive eithanasia, specifically, is when you use euthanasia to end a persons life by removing life support, stopping certain medication, or stopping food and water. You basically stop giving the person the necessities to stay alive. These actions are for the patients who are terminally ill and/or is a suffering person who needs natural death to occur sooner. For example a person on life support. The person has machines hooked on them to keep them alive and isn’t able to stay alive themselves. At this point in someone’s life, the person might want to take the machines off to allow the struggle to go away and end their lives earlier than expected. This type of euthanasia really isn’t the type that the conterversy is about because the patients are already at the point where death is certain and very near but that still doesn’t make it morally okay. When a person reaches this amount of pain, society says that they need autonomy because they should be able to choose for themselves if they want to live a struggle full couple years. This is the type of euthanasia that some say is wrong but society as whole says, it should be a “personal choice.” Overall the secular viewpoint of euthanasia is that one should have autonomy. One should be able to choose their own destiny and be able to decide for themselves when the pain becomes unbearable for them. It also says that we should not be able to judge someone for their decisions because at the end of the day it is the person’s personal choice to do what they think is right for them. Therefore, this is the secular viewpoint of euthanasia and it’s based on one having autonomy and to do what they want.

The secular viewpoint has a huge argument when arguing if euthanasia is accpetable or not. The church’s view of euthanasia is another argument that is brought up when debating about euthanasia. With there being many secular viewpoints, there is basically one view of the church and that is ending one’s life earlier than expected is sinful. When it comes to passive euthanasia and patients are on things like life support, the church says it is still no okay to end someones life by taking the life support of even though the person might only survive a couple more hours with it on. The church says this is immoral okay because they believe the Lord is the only one who controls our lives. “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away” (Job 1:21). This shows how our lives are not for us to handle and should be in the Lord’s hands. We should not be deciding when we want to end our suffering.’It is I who bring both death and life.’ (Dt 32:39) But at the same time the church says we have no right to provide euthanasia. “Thou shalt not kill.” (Exodus 20:13) This exemplifies that the church believes killing sinful and when it comes to using passive euthanasia, you are killing someone by not giving them a nessecitity to stay alive and is murder. “Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.”

(ccc 2276) “ Whatever its motives, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.”(ccc 2277) These quotes from the catholic catechism exemplify that when one is in need of help we must provide it. When one needs life support to be able to live for as long as possible, then we must provide it. They also exemplify that no matter the type of euthanasia it is wrong because you are basically killing someone earlier than Gods plans. This really shows the standpoint of the church because it is clear that euthanasia isn’t morally okay to the church. Not just in the catechism but encyclicals also state how euthanasia is wrong no matter if it is legal or not. Her is what is says in the encyclical of Evangelium Vitae:

Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. From the very beginnings of the Church, the apostolic preaching reminded Christians of their duty to obey legitimately constituted public authorities (cf. Rom 13:1-7; 1 Pet 2:13-14), but at the same time it firmly warned that ‘we must obey God rather than men’ (Acts 5:29).

This quote from the Evangelium vitae shows that the church not to follow the civil law but to see what is morally right. Civil law isn’t always moral and can be bad at times. This encyclical exemplifies that we shall not follow these civil laws but to follow god and divine law. In this case, euthanasia is legall in Canada but is it moral? To the church it is wrong and that’s why they say we must not follow man kind but follow the Lord. Therefore, the church is very clear with their viewpoint on passive euthanasia. They believe it is wrong no matter the case. We should leave our lives in the hands of the lord and do whatever it takes to help one live as long as possible. We must give medicine, food and water, and etc to help keep someone live as long as possible. We should never cut someone’s life short because of suffering. We should comfort the suffering instead of letting them go. Overall these are the main things the church has to say about passive euthanasaia and it is clear they don’t support it.

After this year’s grade 12 theology class, we have learned a lot. A lot of concepts related to the church. After learning all these concepts, I have seen many connections with what the church believes as well as overall conections to euthanasia. The first course concept involved with euthanasia is Kolbegrs stages of morality. When someone wants to end their suffering, they are being level twos because they don’t care about anyone else after they die and only care about their suffering. This will leave family sad and angry to why the family member had to die so quickly. Sometimes these patients can also be level 6’s dependent on their motive. If they are trying to end struggles for family and friends because they have to take care of the patient, then they might be a level 6 because they are giving up themselves for the best of family and friends. This leads me to the course concept of “the ends don’t justify the means.” This is a moral principle about how having a good goal or purpose doesn’t justify the use of evil means to achieve that goal. In this case if you are being that level 6, it doesn’t mean what you are doing is morally okay. You might be killing yourself for the benefit of others but at the end of the day, like the church says, you are choosing when you want to die and being sinful because our lives should be in the hands of the Lord.

The next connection with the course concepts is our conscience. When deciding if you would like to use euthanasia, your conscience has impact on your decision. Sometimes you have a legalistic conscience which is when you are too caught up with following the law and you don’t really think if it is morally right. With euthanasia, it is legal and people have this conscienece and forget about the morality of commiting such an act. This is what the church says. In the encyclical of Evangelium Vitae, it says how we need to remember to also obey god and sometimes look at our actions and see if they are in divine law. We can’t always depend on the law because it’s not always right. An example of this is the legalization of marijauna. Even though it is legal it still isn’t good for you. The only reason why the government made it legal is to make some money off of the huge black market sales of marijauna. Another conscience that patients might have is wrongly formed conscience. This deals with people being given wrong information about what is right or wrong. With euthanasia, people with secular viewpoints may tell patients that euthanasia is a personal choice and it is okay to do if you think it is right for you. The patient conscience will then tell them it is okay to use euthanasia. This might not be in the fault of the patient but they can always think to themselves if what they are doing is morally okay. This relates back to the encyclical of Evangelium Vitae, where it says to not always follow mankind but to look at divine law.

The second last conection euthanasia has with the course concepts is guilt that one feels when giving euthanasia. This guilt is warranted guilt. A doctor might know that them providing euthanasia is wrong but they do it anyways. This guilt reminds us of what we did wrong. It reminds the doctors that they have basically commit murder and ended someones life. The church says the same. In the cathiolic church catechism, it says that no matter the motive, euthanasia is not aceptable. This guilt will lead to denial of guilt. Even though you will feel that guilt, doctors will start to deny to help make them feel better. Deep inside they will still know that you have taken a life away from God and have committed a sin. The last connection is support. You can recieve support when thinking of euthanasia. This support can be from real friends, the human community, local faith community, and a wider faith community. All these commmunities can help patients be comforted in times of struggles to help say no to passive euthanasia. This is what the church wants. They want the suffering to be comforted. Finally, these are all the connections with euthanasia and the grade 12 course concepts.

In conclusion, passive euthanasia is a highly debatable. Secularly, the viewpoint is that euthanasia overall should be a personal choice and how one should have autonomy. This viewpoint is one that is highly supported. The church’s viewpoint is that passive euthanasia is only okay when one is basically dead and is only alive because of life support. At that point euthanasia is okay. Otherwise passive euthanasia is not okay in the church no matter the circumstance. With the church’s view there are also course concepts that connect with their viewpoints. To conclude, segments of secular society argue that passive euthanasia is morally permissable, the Catholic church and grade 12 course concepts argue that this type of euthanasia is only morally permissable in select circumstances.

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