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Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. Overview. Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide is an ongoing issue around the world Fear that medical advancements no longer allow death to be a serene moment, instead prolonging death Excellent example of the effects of moral relativism. Definitions.

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overview
Overview
  • Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide is an ongoing issue around the world
  • Fear that medical advancements no longer allow death to be a serene moment, instead prolonging death
  • Excellent example of the effects of moral relativism
definitions
Definitions
  • Active Euthanasia: Deliberate killing of someone with the intention of ending all suffering
  • Passive Euthanasia: withholding or withdrawing life support, nutrition, or water without a person’s consent, with the specific intention of ending that person’s life
definitions con t
Definitions Con’t
  • Assisted Suicide: providing a person with the means to end his/her life
  • Doctor-Assisted Death: physician-assisted suicide and active euthanasia performed by a physician
the church s stance
The Church’s Stance
  • Euthanasia and Doctor-Assisted Suicide is ALWAYS wrong
  • The good of the sanctity of human life, that life that God bestowed on us, can never be sacrificed for the sake of the good self-determination
  • Against the 6th Commandment, “Thou shall not kill”
dignity of human life
Dignity of Human Life
  • Life is always good and may never be taken
  • “Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.” CCC 2258
misconception that leads to euthanasia
Misconception that Leads to Euthanasia
  • Judgment that life is not worth living
    • Arrogant view that has lead to lives being taken throughout history
        • Euthanasia and Suicide
        • Murder
        • Genocide
declining extraordinary measures
Declining “extraordinary measures”
  • Euthanizing and forgoing extraordinary measures are two separate issues
  • Extraordinary measures: any measures that are disproportionate to the expected results OR measures that impose an excessive burden on the patient and family
ordinary vs extraordinary
Ordinary vs. Extraordinary
  • Anything not primarily considered ordinary medical care
  • Consider these factors:
    • Degree of complexity
    • Amount of risk involved
    • Cost and accessibility
    • State of the sick person
    • His resources
  • Proper nourishment (food and water)
  • Ordinary medical care:
    • Offer reasonable hope of benefit
    • Are not unduly burdensome to the patient or family
declining extraordinary measures con t
Declining Extraordinary Measures con’t
  • The person is placing himself in God’s hands and prepares to leave this life
  • Maintains ordinary means of health care
imminent and inevitable death
Imminent and Inevitable Death
  • One can, in good conscience, “refuse forms of treatment that would only secure a precarious and burdensome prolongation of life, so long as the normal care due to the sick person in similar cases is not interrupted” (Evangelium Viate, n65)
pain relievers
Pain Relievers
  • Pain relievers are a morally acceptable way of subduing suffering
    • Some choose not to take pain relievers
  • Pain relief is still acceptable even if it has the secondary, but not intended, effect of hastening the end of life
example
Example…
  • A person is dying of cancer which has metastasized throughout his body. The disease causes the man to go into a coma and he must be fed intravenously and use a respirator. His kidneys fail and it becomes clear that the situation is not reversible
  • Medical technology is not providing any hope of recovery or benefit at this point; it is prolonging death
  • The respirator has now become an extraordinary measure, so turning it off would be morally acceptable.
but isn t it better to end suffering
But isn’t it better to end suffering?
  • No one enjoys suffering, nor should anyone wish for someone to experience it
  • We must remember that we have been baptized into Christ’s passion, death and resurrection
    • We share in our Lord’s cross, and that may be very painful at times
    • We are united with Christ with our suffering
suffering con t
Suffering con’t
  • It is VERY difficult to understand the purpose of suffering
  • But…by uniting our suffering with Christ’s, we expiate (atone—make amends) the hurt caused by our sins and help expiate the sins of others
  • Sometimes suffering will finally heal the wounds that have divided families
death is not the end
Death is NOT the end
  • Faith in the resurrected Lord teaches us that while we live on earth, it is not our abiding home.
  • St. Francis of Assisi spoke of “Sister Death” as a friend who carries us from this life to the Father’s house.
  • We should not fear death
some consequences of euthanasia and doctor assisted suicide
Some Consequences of Euthanasia and Doctor-Assisted Suicide
  • The vulnerable may be pressured to to seek an earlier death by third parties
    • Danger may increase as health resources decrease or become more expensive
consequences con t
Consequences con’t
  • The role of the physician and trust in him would be undermined
  • Palliative care would be marginalized
consequences con t1
Consequences con’t
  • How is suffering defined? What about the depressed, infirm, frail, etc.
consequences con t2
Consequences con’t
  • Diminish respect for human life
  • Erode the basic trust that human life will be protected
    • Essential trust to have for the functioning of any society
the hippocratic oath 350 b c
The Hippocratic Oath (350 B.C.)
  • “…I will neither give a deadly drug to anyone if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect…”
  • “First, do no harm.”
social and cultural factors affecting the debate in the 1990s
Social and Cultural Factors Affecting the Debate in the 1990s:
  • Secularism
  • Moral relativism
  • Radical personal autonomy
  • The growing AIDS epidemic
  • Families have fewer children
  • Emphasis on reducing the cost of healthcare
is euthanasia assisted suicide legal anywhere
Is euthanasia/assisted-suicide legal anywhere?
  • Netherlands (1984). In 1990, 9% of deaths were D.A.S. or euthanasia
  • Oregon: “Death with Dignity” Act (1997); Washington; Montana
  • Belgium: 2002
  • Switzerland: euth. not legalized, doctors aren’t punished for D.A.S.
  • Northern Territory of Australia: 2006
won t they regulate it
Won’t they regulate it?
  • “Regulations” are in place, but a ‘slippery slope’ occurs
    • Records are difficult to maintain and can be altered or not maintained
    • People argue that “suffering” is a relative term
    • When a person is unconscious, others are responsible for his/her decision
resources
Resources
  • http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/tul/ott-euthanasia.html#lessons
  • http://www.catholicenquiry.com/life-and-death/what-is-the-churchs-position-on-euthanasia.html
  • http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=307
  • “Going to the House of the Father”. Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops. April 2007
  • COLF pamphlet entitled: Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Urgent Questions!
  • http://www.euthanasia.com/hollchart.html
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