Euthanasia: What? How? Why? I am here in front of you all this morning to objectively present the controversial issue of euthanasia. Some of you may already have your own opinions on this issue and others may be still asking themselves, “what exactly is euthanasia?’ After reading the “Declaration on Euthanasia’ from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith and using it as a reference while preparing this presentation, I am confident that I can paint an clear picture of this recent issue and maybe even persuade some of your unenlightened opinions. Euthanasia can be defined as “mercy killing’ or killing someone mercifully with the motive of ending their pain. This subject presents two debates and is the combination of two choices.
First, one can argue that euthanasia has pro-human motives and goals. On the other hand, euthanasia is the ultimate meaning of anti-human means. Euthanasia uses a “death machine’ (usually poison or gas) to rip the spirit out of the body. Essentially, the separation of soul and body is the death of a human being. There are two ways one can die. “Letting someone die’ is the death of a human when a human cause is not present.
Other humans can help the sick and dying in all ways possible but sometimes the place for the sick human is with God. The second type of death is killing another human being. Humans use their freewill to make a conscience choice about taking another’s life. With euthanasia, the doctors are willingly killing the patients.
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Doctors are the only people since the history of this earth that have been granted this unthinkable power. As you sit in the audience, you may be asking yourselves, “What is so unique about doctors that would enable them to obtain this power?’ Doctors began practicing euthanasia when patients with terminal diseases would complain that the pain was so bad they just wanted to die at that very instant. Doctors have the power to vary medicine and dosages or halt treatment completely to grant the patient’s wishes. Instead of altering medicine with the motive of patient death, there is a better alternative. This alternative is called pain management. The truth is though that nationwide, only thirty percent of licensed doctors have been taught appropriate guidelines and procedures for pain management.
The role of this thirty- percent is to support living humans even if the time they have left is short. By using their knowledge of pain management, doctors can physically and emotionally aid patients through their final weeks and days. This leaves seventy percent of our licensed doctors that are not properly trained in pain management. Therefore these doctors are practicing anti-human means and making uneducated decisions to end human lives.
In Reality, this is the disturbing practice of euthanasia. “Human life is the basis of all goods, and is the necessary source and condition of every human activity of all society.’ Beyond this definition, many faithful believers think that life is a gift of God’s love and that this gift should be preserved indefinitely. With euthanasia, there is an obvious rejection of God’s gift and loving plan for human life. According to the values of human life, there are several reasons why euthanasia contradicts God’s plan.
By making the choice to kill another human, one is challenging God’s love for that person. Everyone has the right to live his or her life in parallel with God’s plan, therefore, suicide or euthanasia is equally as wrong as committing murder. This offense is “a violation of the divine law, an offense against the dignity of the human person, a crime against life, and an attack on humanity’. If euthanasia is defined as such a hideous crime then why has it become more widespread? The answer lies in the simple fact that after hearing the news of a terminal illness or life threatening deformity, patients see no other way out. Ninety percent of these patients are not diagnosed as depressed.
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If the proper diagnosis was given, the proper treatment could deter patients from resorting to euthanasia. The greatest cure for depression is love. A sick person not only needs medical assistance but also needs human and supernatural love. By surrounding a terminally ill patient with a high degree of genuine love, it will be easier for them to make the most out of their time left. You may be asking yourselves, “What is there to be happy about when you know you are going to die in less than a month?’ Death is a natural cause of grief for virtually every human but Christian teachings look beyond this sorrowful surface. The suffering that these terminally ill patients endure at their last moments of life is a representation of the suffering of Jesus Christ on the cross.
At the stage of suffering, the patient should realize that he or she has a distinguished place in God’s saving plan. This suffering should instead indicate to the patient obedience and union with God. The question arises though, How much suffering is too much? The Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith takes special consideration when dealing with painkillers and ordinary / extraordinary treatments. The painkillers should be administered only with the patient’s consent, used in moderation and monitored by a doctor. These painkillers can be given only as long as the patient has full consciousness.
This consciousness is crucial to the final stages of life because one must be able to morally prepare himself or herself for the meeting of Christ. For this reason, it is not righteous to deprive a dying person consciousness because of painkillers. When deciding on painkillers and treatments, it is the doctor’s duty to weigh the benefits and burdens of each treatment on the individual. After evaluating these consequences, a logical decision must be made to categorize the treatment as either ordinary or extraordinary.
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In the case of extraordinary treatment, the patient, and his or her family should be consulted before the doctor makes a final judgment. Medicine has recently increased its potential to cure and prolong human life. Unfortunately, these new discoveries have given rise to new questions related to euthanasia. Depending on which side of the spectrum you are located, the doctor, the patient, the family of the patient, or the Catholic Church, there are several sides to the ongoing debate of euthanasia. As a devoted Christian and an advocate of the “Declaration on Euthanasia’, I am here today to try to reveal to you the objective facts surrounding the issue. The underlying matter remains; God has given us a right to life.
This right is a part of God’s loving plan. Whatever life threatening medical obstacles may arise in our lives, we have to remember that we are suffering for Christ and we will one day be rewarded for this suffering.