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Euthanasia Essay, Research Paper


Euthanasia (Greek for ?easy death?) is the practice of ending a life so

as to release an individual from an incurable disease or great suffering.

Voluntary euthanasia involves a request to terminate their life by the dying

patient or that person?s legal representative. Passive or negative euthanasia

involves not doing anything to prevent death that is allowing someone to die,

active or positive euthanasia involves taking deliberate action to cause a


The growth in the practice of euthanasia stems in part from a false belief

that life can be judged in terms of its quality and if that quality is not of a

high standard then we human beings have a right to terminate it. The Christians

answer is that life cannot be subject to quality control because God ?created

man in his image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created

them. God blessed them.? And as such all human beings rich, poor, healthy,

handicapped or terminally ill have every right to live as long as God wills.

Since God is the author of life only God can determine when and under what

circumstances our life on this earth is to be terminated.

?It is I who bring both death and life? Deut: 32:39

One of the main thrusts for euthanasia today is to people who are terminally

ill. It is wildly believed that there are only two options opens open to them,

either they die slowly in unrelieved suffering or they receive euthanasia. In

fact there is a middle way that of creative and compassionate caring or

palliative care. This is the active total care of patients and their families by

a multi-professional team when the patient?s disease is no longer responsive

to curative treatment. The Hospice movement is one of the best examples of this.

?From man in regard to his fellow man I will demand an accounting.? Gen 9:5.

Very often it is during the time of terminal illness that people have time to

reflect on the way they have lived their lives, to make amends for the wrong

done and to prepare mentally and spiritually for their own death. Those involved

in hospice work often observe a mending of family relationships and a

rediscovery of mutual love.

?You are Gods own people that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him

who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.? Peter 2:9.

Those nursing the terminally ill testify to how they themselves are helped by

the very people they are nursing. Parents of handicapped children testify that

they draw closer to God through sharing in the life of one who needs them


It is often through facing the hardship that terminal illness brings and

through learning to accept the help of others that human character and maturity

develops most fully. Death if properly managed can be the final stage of growth.

If we lose the opportunity of caring for vunerable people we become less human

and a lot more selfish. Voluntary euthanasia would deny us these possibilities.

The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus message, ?I come that they may

have life and have it abundantly? John 10:10.

In his Encyclical on the value and inviolability of Human Life Pope John Paul

states, ?That every person open to truth and goodness recognizes the sacred

value of human life from its very beginning until its end. In a special way

believers in Christ must defend and promote this right because, ?By his

Incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every human

being.? This shows us not only the boundless love of God who ?so loved the

world that he gave his only son? John 3:16 but also the value of every human


The Second Vatican Council, over thirty years ago made a statement which is

probably more relevant today than it was then: ?Whatever is opposed to life

itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion or euthanasia, whatever

violates the integrity of the human person? are infancies indeed. They poison

human society ad they do more harm to those who practice them than to those who

suffer the injury. Moreover they are a supreme dishonor to the creator.?

Throughout the bible old age is given dignity and reverence when speaking of

Eleagar, ?He preferred to make a noble decision worthy of his age, of his

noble years of his shinning white hair.

Illness does not drive a person to despair and to seek death, but makes him

cry out in hope, ?I kept my faith, even when I said, I am greatly afflicted?

Ps 116:10. The protection of life is guaranteed in the fifth commandment, ?thou

shall not kill? in fact the entire law of God serves to protect life. Gods

covenant with his people is offered as a path of life. ?I have set before you

this day, life and good, death and evil, if you obey the commands of your God,

then you shall live and multiply?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that euthanasia is morally

unacceptable and it is, ?murder gravely contrary to dignity of the human

person and to the respect due to the creator.?

I believe that society is rapidly moving towards accepting euthanasia. When a

practice becomes legal accepted and widely practiced people no longer have

strong feelings about it. This was shown at the Nuremberg Trials, Karl Brandt

the medic who had coordinated the Nazi euthanasia program said, and ?I have a

perfectly clear conscience about the part I played in the affair. When I said

yes to euthanasia I did so with my greatest conviction.? He believed he was


If euthanasia is accepted and legalized I believe it will lead to involuntary

euthanasia. According to the Remmelink report commissioned by the Dutch Ministry

of Justice there were over three thousand deaths from euthanasia in the

Netherlands in 1990. More than one thousand of those deaths were not voluntary.

The Hippocratic oath which all doctors must take states: ?I will give no

deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest such counsel.? The

international code of medical ethics declares. ?A doctor must always bear in

mind the obligation of preserving human life from the time of conception until

death.? We must wake up and take action or euthanasia will become as common as

abortion. The final and only law we should follow is the law of God, our

creator. ?it is I who bring both life and death? Deut 32:39.


Faith Alive by Rowanne Pasco and John Redford.

Catechism of the Catholic Church.


World Book Encyclopedia.

The Bible.

Pope John Paul II?s Encyclical- Evangelium Vitae

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