Euthanasia

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  • Euthanasia
    • For Euthanasia
      • Christian Arguments For
        • Joseph Fletcher
          • Served as president for the 'Society for the Right to Die' from 1974-1976
          • Human suffering is degrading and serves no purpose
          • The purpose of modern medicine is to alleviate suffering
          • Actions that result in a lack of human dignity are cruel and evil
          • "Blessed are the merciful" Sermon on the Mount
        • "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul." Matthew Chapter 10 Verse 28
        • Christianity believes in the respect of every human being. If we respect a human being, we should respect their rights to end their life.
          • "do unto others what you would have them do unto you" Matthew Chapter 7 Verse 12
        • Humans are created imago dei, and their intelligence given by God has given them the right to use it however they want. "have dominion over all the Earth." (Genesis Chapter 1, Verse 28)
        • "Then he said to me, 'please stand beside me and kill me, for agony has seized me because life still lingers in me.' So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew he could not life after he had fallen."
      • Ethical Arguments For
        • Morally humans say we should relieve humans from suffering. "A religious belief that runs counter to our moral beliefs is to that extent unacceptable." Stewart Sutherland
        • People deserve rights to dignity even if they cannot speak for themselves, e.g. dementia, permanent vegatitive state. "The question is not can it reason, can it talk, but can it suffer?" Jeremy Bentham
        • Mary Warnock
          • Mary Warnock, the chair of the Warnock Committee between 1982-84, argues that euthanasia offers an individual the ability to escape pain and die with dignity.
          • Argues that the current legal position only adds to the suffering of families already in turmoil
          • ''legalise assisted suicide for pitys sake.'' Following the death of Daniel James in 2008
      • Quality of life argument (cost of treatment/number of years benefit)
        • If a person is rational, we should respect their choice to continue with expensive, painful or pointless treatment
        • Treatment may be very expensive to only provide a few more weeks of painful and burdensome life, is euthanasia a cost effective option with todays NHS?
    • Against Euthanasia
      • Christians Arguments Against
        • Pope John Paul II, Declaration on Euthanasia
          • "Human life is a gift from God, over which humans have stewardship but not absolute dominion."
        • Church of England
          • Whilst the Church of England respects the right of the individual and the right to voluntary euthanasia, this is outweighed by the potential harm the legalisation of euthanasia would have on the weak and vulnerable in society
            • "Euthanasia would surely put the vulnerable people at serious risk, especially sick people who are anxious about the burden their illness is placing on others" The Telegraph, 2009
          • Euthanasia, unlike suicide is a public act as it has implications for other members of society, notably the medical profession.
        • The role of suffering
          • Although suffering is not a good in itself, nevertheless it is a feature of life which can support spirtual growth
          • "Suffering during the last moments of life has a special place in God's saving plan...a sharing with Christ's passion and a union with the redeeming sacrifice which he offered in obedience to the fathers will." (John Paul II, Declaration of Euthanasia, 1980)
      • Kant said you should only act on actions that you could successfully universalise in his second categorical imperative. Could you universalise mercy killing?
        • Second Catagorical Imperative: "Act only according to that maxim wherby you can at the same time will that it should be come a universal law without contradiction."
      • Is legalising euthanasia as a method of easy death a slippery slope?
        • 0.8% of all deaths in Holland are due to involuntary euthanasia
    • Forms of Euthanasia
      • Voluntary euthanasia: When a person because of extreme pain or terminal illness wishes for an easy gentle death, but is unable to commit suicide alone and gets someone else to assist them, e.g. with a lethal drug.
      • Involuntary euthanasia: When the life of a suffering person who is able to give consent, but does not, is ended
      • Active euthanasia: Taking steps, such as injecting drugs, to end someones live.
        • Christians believe that as it is morally wrong to commit suicide, it is morally wrong to help someone commit suicide.
          • "God gives life, God takes life away."
          • "True comapssion leads from sharing anothers pain; it does not kill the person whose suffering we cannot bear." Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 1995
      • Passive euthanasia: A persons life is ended by withholding treatment that would keep them alive.
        • The church supports passive euthanasia, e.g. refusing extraordinary or aggressive medical means to preserve life. They d not consider this to be euthanasia, but a proper acceptance of the human condition in the face of  death.

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