euthanasiaCan Euthanasia ever be justified?
Personally, I think Euthanasia is something akin to assisted suicide. I really have a hard time with the idea of euthanasia for really young persons since medical science is always coming up with new treatments for existing conditions.
In a different post, I mentioned my father who died of bone cancer. His pain was unmanageable, and his condition was terminal. In his situation, a "big shot" of something to end his suffering would certainly have been just as humane as what I do for my sick animals. However, that was my dad, and I really didn't want to give him up, no matter what.
I do agree with the DNR orders that many people have in place these days. I also agree with the concept of a LIVING WILL.
But a general "euthanasia" law or concept would simply create the possibility of using human persons who are mentally defective or physically handicapped as unwilling organ donors or science projects. I totally disagree with the possible serious consequences to our society of euthanasia becomming an acceptable legal practice.
Well, as a practicing Catholic, I would have to say no, euthanasia is not an acceptable practice. Not that I believe God wants anyone to suffer, but I think the point is that our lifespans shouldn't be in the hands of other human beings; we should be entitled to live all the life we've been assigned. Of course, this opinion rests heavily on the belief that there is a higher power that has given us life and actively intervenes in the lives of those who are suffering as well as those who are well.
Even though someone may be suffering, it is along the lines of suicide. Our lives should not be determined by human hands, whether against or in accordance with our wishes.
We are not God. Even with DNR orders and Living Wills, we don't know exactly what we will want when the time comes. Many people change their minds in the event of a crisis of health. The will to live is strong, indeed, and unless someone is actually mentally disturbed in some way, I find it hard to believe that some people would willingly choose death. God's plan is perfect. When it is our time to die, we will go. Humanity has free will, but I do not believe that choosing to kill oneself or to take the life of another can ever be acceptable.
Of course, euthanasia, or assisted death, may not be acceptible from the point-of-view of religious/medical ethics. If we believe that life is a gift of God, we cannot accept the taking away of human life by a human being, whatever be the circumstances. Again, a doctor is pledge-bound to try to save an ailing life; he doesn't have the right to expedite the process of dying, whatever be the reasons.
All this said, and with enough ethical sanctity, it may often be also unbearable to see some one, very close to me, suffering long & incurably. A broken body, terminally diseased & undergoing terrible pains, not responding to any treatment, deserves to be relieved, and euthanasia only can offer that relief. THERE ARE CHANCES OF IT BEING ABUSED, I ADMIT. Yet sometimes, I find great proximity with Keats's observation:'To cease upon the midnight with no pain'
Societies prohibit acts like euthanasia and suicide for one or both of two reasons - protecting the individual losing his or her life, and preventing development of culture and values harmful to the society in the long run.
As the name euthanasia implies, it is supposed to be for the benefit of the person involved. But there can be a sea of difference between what things actually are and what they are supposed to be. Therefore, before we decide one way or the other about euthanasia we need to be clear about what constitutes euthanasia and how it is to be executed.
Having clarified these preliminary issues, the following are my views on euthanasia. Any positive action to speed up the demise of a person, like giving a injection that will lead to painless death should not be legalized. But withdrawal of treatment - particularly the life support system of intensive care units - should be legalized, when the patient desires it. After all there are many poor people who are denied such treatment because they can's afford to pay for it.