The Complexities of Euthanasia: Ethical Dilemmas and Human Values
Understanding Euthanasia: A Complex Decision
Euthanasia is the deliberate ending of someone’s life, usually to alleviate suffering. Doctors sometimes perform Euthanasia when people with terminal illnesses and severe pain request it. It is a complex process and involves weighing many factors. Local laws, someone’s physical and mental health, and their personal beliefs and wishes all play a role.
Different Types of Euthanasia Explained
There are different types of Euthanasia, one of which is assisted suicide, also known as physician-assisted suicide (PAS). PAS is when a doctor knowingly helps someone in ending their life. This person is likely experiencing persistent and unending suffering. They may have also been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Their doctor will determine the most effective, painless method.
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Doctors often prescribe a drug that will allow people to end their lives. They are also called active and passive. Active purposely giving someone a lethal dose of a sedative is considered active Euthanasia. On the other hand, passive is withholding or limiting life-sustaining treatments to hasten death. A doctor may also prescribe increasingly high doses of pain relievers. Over time, the quantities may become toxic. Lastly, it can be voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary Euthanasia is when a person asks for assistance in ending their life voluntarily. The person must express their full consent and show they know all the details. In nonvoluntary Euthanasia, the decision to end a person’s life is made by another party. Usually, a close relative makes a choice. When someone is totally unconscious or permanently incapacitated, this is typically done.
Legality of Euthanasia Worldwide
For centuries, people have debated the ethics and legality of Euthanasia, and some states and countries allow this procedure. In the United States, PAS is legal in Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, Montana, Vermont, Washington, D.C., and Hawaii. PAS is legal in Switzerland, Germany, and Japan outside the United States. And other countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Colombia, and Canada.
The Church’s Perspective on Euthanasia
The majority of Christians oppose Euthanasia. The arguments are often founded on the belief that God provides life and that humans are created in God’s image. God has given us life. God created all life. Birth and death are natural processes that God designed, and we must honor them. As a result, no human being has the authority to take an innocent person’s life, even if that person wishes to die. Human beings are valued because they are created in the image of God. Human life has inherent dignity and value since it was made in God’s vision for the particular destiny of partaking in God’s life.
Nothing or no one can allow the death of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, a newborn or an adult, an older adult, a person suffering from an incurable sickness, or a dying person. Furthermore, no one may seek this killing, whether for themselves or another person assigned to their care, nor may they consent to it, either expressly or implicitly, nor can any authority properly propose or approve such an action.
It is a breach of divine law, an offense against the dignity of the human being, a crime against life, and an attack on humankind. Although the individual’s guilt may be mitigated or absent in certain situations, the mistake of judgment into which the conscience falls, possibly in good faith, does not change the character of this act of killing, which will always be something to be rejected. The appeals of terminally ill persons who sometimes ask for death should not be interpreted as a genuine desire for Euthanasia; instead, it is nearly invariably an agonized cry for aid and love.
The church’s teaching details how we are responsible for our acts. Within the subject of the issue, it is done with the knowledge and will. Euthanasia, as stated, is mainly done by doctors to patients with terminal illnesses, for example. Having to decide on this act is done with full consent, which is entirely deliberate. The act is taken with thought and complete understanding of the consequences and how it should be taken beneficially.
The Church Teaching can somehow counter these acts because, as God taught and commanded that no man shall kill another, the act does so. As an example, for doctors, even with full deliberate consent, it can be viewed as having it to be their own decision or choice to have a patient end their life due to a terminal illness. It can be openly viewed as an act of killing but somehow is done legally, not religious-wise.
That is why the Church’s Teaching somehow counters the idea of Euthanasia. The Church Teaching directly follows God’s commandments and is, if not entirely, opposed to any forms and acts of killing. Although some people, may they be Christian or not by religion, do agree to give their consent to the act. The Human Act also gives both good and bad values for why the act was done. The Church Teaching defines this act as being a freely chosen informed act, which does the act, as tackled in the issue, being openly considered as a choice to be decided and gives a solid belief to a good or bad value.
- The School of Medicine. (n.d.). Understanding Euthanasia: A Complex Decision.
- The Week. (2021). Countries Where Euthanasia Is Legal.
- Saunders, W. (n.d.). The Catholic Church’s Perspective on Euthanasia.
- Catechism of the Catholic Church. CCC, 2277.
- Di Camillo, J. (2013). The Church’s Teachings on Euthanasia.
- Pasley, M. (2019). Reflecting God’s Likeness: Human Purpose and Responsibility.