The opinions posted on the Pagan Perspective pages are those of individuals and are not neccessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 34 - 3/26/2001
What Are Your Views on Abortion, Euthanasia and Suicide?
What are your personal views on the issue of abortion, euthanasia and suicide? Do you consider these as individual and personal decisions or are they moral, religious or ethical 'crimes'? Does society-or the majority view (religious or otherwise) have the right to 'regulate' such actions or does the individual have the personal 'right' to decide whether to have an abortion or take their own life through euthanasia r suicide? CAUTION: These topics are very emotionally charged ones. Please do not attack or respond directly to another's posting, but rather simply state your own opinion on the matter. Anyone who wishes to debate the topics further via email with others can state so in his/her posting. Postings directly attacking another individual will be removed.
| Reponses: There are 95 responses posted to this question.
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| Speaking As Someone Who Has Felt The Pain Of Losing Someone Through... ||Mar 26th. at 11:28:03 pm EST|
|Tanais (Spokane, Washington US) ||Age: 20 |
Speaking as someone who has felt the pain of losing someone through taking their life, I can say I'm very much against it. I lost my Uncle because he chose to kill himself. Losing a loved one by them taking their own life is a pain nobody should have to feel. There is along with the natural feeling of loneliness, in my own experience there was also anger. Anger that this had to happen. That death had to come like that. I was at my Uncle's funeral and I was so angry at him I couldn't cry. To this day I haven't been able to while everyone in my family has. Suicide hurts much more people then just simply ending a single life. The life taken effects others and I wish those who contemplate suicide remember there are those that love them and would miss them once gone. I do not pass judgement on people who wish to kill themself because I don't know the situation or why they now believe life is unbearable.
Euthanasia I remember talking about in my ethics class not too long ago. Is it a moral failing for the United States as a society to allow assisted suicide. I personally believe in the sacredness of life so unless it is entirely in the best interest of the patient with absolutely no possible chance of recovery, I can understand allowing the body to pass. That decision was once given to my parents. I nearly died at birth and in all honesty, I'm glad they didn't decide to "let me die." It's my own personal belief that the soul has pretty much moved on and the body doesn't know it once a person is brain dead to a certain point. This might not be a popular view but the alternative is the soul (if you believe in a soul) is trapped inside their own body with no way out. I know personally my worst fear would be to keep me alive when for all practicality the body is dead and only supported by machines.
Abortion I have a lot of trouble talking about. There is the sacredness of life and the procreation rights of the parents. First of all I want to say right now anyone reckless enough to get pregnant has some responsibility. Not just the woman but the man involved as well. They want to have sex, they must suffer any potential consequences. Does that mean I'm against abortion? No. I'm against abortion as a form of birth control definitely. It's not only reckless, but selfish and dangerous. I want to say again I'm not anti-abortion. If there are medical reasons for terminating the pregnancy or even cases of rape then I think it should remain an option for the parent or parents.
Thanks for letting me voice my humble opinions
| I Have A Healthy Respect For Life. That Said.... These Are Actually... ||Mar 26th. at 11:47:00 pm EST|
|Gryphontamer (Corona, California US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
I have a healthy respect for life.
These are actually three different topics. They're three kinds of death, and they can't just be lumped into one bag and treated the same.
Abortion, to me, is the termination of a human life. The fetus started from human gametes and grows to be a human being. To me, abortion can never be anything other than horrific -- but that is *my opinion only.* I understand that there are many pagans who would not agree. I respect their right to disagree with me. However, if it came to me, I would never have an abortion. I've had three miscarriages and two births, and I mourn the miscarriages as children, not balls of tissue. I don't have the right to insist that you believe as I do on this, however, which is why you will not see me picketing an abortion clinic.
Euthanasia? I admit that I am angered with people who have not made adequate provisions for what they wish to have done at the end of their life on this planet. My father-in-law was one of these. He never told anyone his wishes, but when he had a debilitating series of strokes at the age of 63, it was too late. My mother-in-law had to make the agonizing decision to end dialysis treatment with the full knowledge that he would die from the cessation of that treatment. My mother-in-law is a devout Catholic and has still not reconciled what she had to do with her conscience.
To me, my father-in-law was dead as soon as the stroke robbed him of his mind. His spirit wanted to go. He had no way of communicating, no way of interacting with anyone, and he was not lucid. After the last stroke robbed him of his ability to speak, I got no sense from him of anything more than a desperately wounded animal caught in a trap from which there was no escape. His spirit was bound up inside a nonfunctional body.
I was there when he died. And it was a relief that he died. Because I knew that he was no longer trapped inside a body that just wasn't working anymore. I was also relieved that he had crossed into the Summerland (or gone to Heaven, or whatever happened) because most of what I felt when he was first incapacitated and it became clear that he was not going to recover was anger. Anger that he had not bothered to specify his wishes for the circumstances his family found themselves in.
My father's mother did just the opposite. She had a living will and power of attorney drawn up and given to my father. And a good thing too, otherwise she might still be alive, so to speak, being kept alive by machines instead of living. The living will she had in place prevented the doctors from heroic measures when she was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphatic cancer and senile dementia. She was able to die with some dignity, as she would have wished.
Finally, suicide. Probably the most difficult topic, in light of the recent suicide of Tempest Smith. More conservative Christian churches have condemned suicides over the centuries, insisting they are hellbound, doomed to eternal torment. Modern psychology has shown that many suicides are delusionally mentally ill or severely depressed, or both. Neither explanation is satisfactory, however.
As someone who attempted suicide twice in her teens due to the same kind of torment Tempest faced, I cannot condemn those who have succeeded. Only the person in question knows the inner hell they are facing. Who are we to judge?
At the same time, I think that if more steps were taken to help people who are at risk to suicide (such as shy businessmen, bullied students, and abused women, to name a few admitted stereotypes) we might be able to reduce the incidence of suicide. But the only way I can see to help people in that much pain is to be more accepting, more forgiving, more willing to treat others as fellow human beings. And I don't see that happening.
I have the right to choose the time and place of my passing over. I do not have the right to choose it for another person, however. That is why my opinons may appear to be split on this issue -- because they are.
May the Spirit bless each person who answers this question here for others to read, each person who reads the answers, and all who struggle with these issues every day. There are never any easy answers. I've done the best I can to give my own.
| On Abortion, Euthanasia And Suicide, I Am Of The Opinion That Abortion... ||Mar 27th. at 12:02:44 am EST|
|Perrin (Denver, Colorado US) ||Age: 24 |
On Abortion, Euthanasia and Suicide, I am of the opinion that abortion should be up to the person who carries the child, & a "father" figure, this should not be left up to the government. As to the other 2 I myself have considered suicide, but was beaten out of it at an early age, so my view is rather skewed on that subject. As to euthanasia, I take the meaning to be a medically assisted suicide, which the person has lost quality of life & not likely to regain it as a desecion which should be stated prior to that person getting in that situation, myself I decided when I was 18 that it would be a good idea, & I posted my thoughts in my last will & testament & carry a card in my wallet reflecting my desecion, this is not something the government should control. Once the Government controls death, where will they stop, will they do what Hitler did? In my opion they will be powerless to stop tbemselves.
Also it appears that someone was attacking one individual on other issues. I try very hard not to do that, generally it is easier to attack a group than 1
| I Consider Myself To Be Very Much On The Side Of Choice... ||Mar 27th. at 12:08:35 am EST|
|Mnemosyne (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario CA) ||Age: 24 |
I consider myself to be very much on the side of choice, whether that choice be to take one's own life or to continue living, to continue with an unplanned pregnancy or not. I don't believe that any one of us has the right to dictate another's choices. None is desirable under the best of circumstances, but any can be an appropriate, ethical option for the desperate.
The decision to end one's life can never be a happy one, or an easy one. Those left behind will always question their loved one's decision, and if any of us is untouched by the hopelessness inherent in that decision, we may never understand what could prompt such a choice. The fact remains, though, that those who take their own lives genuinely cannot see any other way out. I believe that when all is said and done, it does no good to damn them--rather, we must come to terms with their pain and ours, and try to understand.
Euthanasia is an equally unpleasant, but sometimes necessary, reality. For those who are terminally ill and have no future but a slow, agonizing death in a hospital bed, it really may be preferable to bring that end on more quickly and less painfully. It is not morally objectionable, for me, for a doctor to agree to facilitate a patient's death, as long as it is truly the patient's decision. For anyone but the patient to push the button that releases the poison is criminal, but to offer mercy to those who are unable to assist themselves is a gift of love.
Abortion is one of the most divisive issues of our era, and for good reason. In the best of worlds, there would be no need for abortion--contraception with 100% success would be available free of charge to any woman or man who wanted it. This world we live in is far from that ideal, though, and unwanted pregnancies happen every day. It is far better, in my opinion, to stop the development of a cluster of cells without consciousness than it is to force a woman whose life and consciousness are already formed to carry to term and give birth to a child she may resent, despise, even abuse after its birth. Pregnancy should be a choice, not a punishment, and until the day comes when there are no unwanted pregnancies, abortion is a necessary option.
My spirituality is entirely grounded in reality. I believe quite firmly that the choices we all hope we will never have to make, while far from pretty, are nonetheless acceptable in this less-than-perfect world.
| This Is A Very Touchy Subject And I'll Do My Best To... ||Mar 27th. at 1:39:15 am EST|
|Autumn SilverFerret (Montoursville, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 22 - Email |
This is a very touchy subject and I'll do my best to try to keep it as inoffensive as possible.
On the subject of abortion: I think that to some extent I am against abortion. This is a tiny life that can't yet make it's own choices and to kill it without it's consent is murder. That's what we call it when a human being kills another human being, murder. I condone a woman's choice to an abortion if one of three things is involved:rape, incest and if the pregnancy could be harmful to the mother's life. One other thing gets to me, people preach that it's the woman's choice but what of the other half, the father-shouldn't he have a say in the matter? What if he wants the child? After all half of his genes have gone into the making of this life. Let's not forget adoption is also a perfectly valid choice. I don't like seeing these women who do not even attempt to use birth control going for abortions every time they get pregnant. What happened to responsibility for one's actions.
On suicide: Nothing, absolutely nothing, can be so horrible in life as to drive a person to commit the ultimate act of suicide. I came to this conclusion when I was younger. I was teased alot in school because I was shy and in their eyes ugly. Children can be horribly cruel to each other. It was very painful, however nothing ever stays the same in life, it constantly changes. My life is wonderful now, I'm so terribly happy I didn't follow through with it, I have a wonderful boyfriend and I found a belief system which works for me.
On euthanasia: Sometimes this can be the last great act of love for our pets. If nothing else can be done and they are in alot of pain this is a way to end it for them. It's heart-breaking because they look to us to make it all better like everything else that you did for them in their life. It's a very painful decision.
Those are just my personal views.
Blessed Be All!
| My Views On Abortion Are Simple.if You Don't Want One, Don't Get... ||Mar 27th. at 2:06:59 am EST|
|jeff hendren (Vancouver, British Columbia CA) ||Age: 32 - Email |
My views on abortion are simple.If you don't want one, don't get one.
| These Are All Very Personal Topics. There Is Never An Easy Answer... ||Mar 27th. at 2:20:41 am EST|
|Kendra Makani (Pomona, California US) ||Age: 29 |
These are all very personal topics. There is never an easy answer to these things, and never one right way to answer them. That being said, these things can only be considered on a case by case situation! How can anyone tell a woman that has many children already, who is living below poverty, who's birth control has failed her, that she must "take the consequences" of having sex, and keep yet another unwanted child? How can you tell that teenager who knows nothing of sex or babies, that in her desperate need and search for "love" gets pregnant, that she must keep that baby forever ruining her life and the life of a child? I certainly wouldn't want to be in those womans shoes.. would you? It's very easy for people, who have chosen differently in their lives, or who haven't come upon these difficult situations to say that abortion is wrong and shouldn't be a choice unless its a case of rape, incest or the mother's life is in danger! It's very easy to say this when you're not faced with it.. and walking in the womans shoes.
I feel the same way as suicide and Euthanasia... these are such hard and horrible choices to be faced with. How can anyone say it is always wrong or always right?? How can especially we Pagans say this? The religion who must constantly cry out that there are more than one way to believe in the universe and all that is around us! We should be more open to the idea that there is never one way, never just one path, and never a "right" and a "wrong" answer!
My grandmother's body was holding on to this phsysical life long past the time that she should have. Her body was not shutting down. Her entire body was filled with cancer, and yet she was breathing on her own and her heart was still beating! Should we have let her continue like this?? Should the doctors??
I believe in reincarnation.. I don't believe that this life is the end. It is precious, and it is sacred, but it is not it! There will always be more. I had an abortion, because bringing a life into my situation would have made more than just my life horrible.. and the new life would have been sad. I belive that the soul of that baby will come back to me when the time IS right! Just like I believe that my grandmother's soul is out there watching me and my family right now. She has not come back to the physical yet because she enjoys the spiritual much more right now (she can meddle a bit easier hehe ;). I believe that those who have commited suicide will get a chance to come back and choose differently in their next life. There are no wrong answers to these questions.... they are just different lessons for each individual, no matter how we answer them in this life, or the next!
| My Opinion On Euthanasia Is That We Don't Have The Right To... ||Mar 27th. at 2:26:34 am EST|
|jeff hendren (Vancouver, British Columbia CA) ||Age: 32 - Email |
My opinion on euthanasia is that we don't have the right to prolong the suffering of another being.If a person or animal is suffering and does not wish to continue to do so, then we shouldn't force them to continue living because we have some squeamish hassle with the concept of dying.I think that we as a society have really placed too much emphasis on the concept of death being evil or bad or scary, death isn't unnatural, it isn't defeat, death is the other end of being alive, and not accepting that everything in this universe is finite is like not accepting the law of gravity.As for suicide, its up to the individual, if leaving behind whatever loved ones you have in your life is acceptable colateral damage when you take the plunge is something each individual has to decide. For myself, I couldn't do it to the people I care about, but if you are really past worrying what they will feel, or if they unerstand that you are needing to end your life at your own hand for whatever reason, that should be your choice, not mine and not anyone else's.
| My Oppinons Only... Suicide Is Not The Anwswer To The Gift Of... ||Mar 27th. at 2:46:42 am EST|
|Celtic-Goddess (NY, New York US) ||Age: 23 |
My Oppinons only... Suicide is not the anwswer to the gift of life the Divine has given you, Abortion (except in the rare cases of saving the mothers life) is not natural and is still taking the life of a human being, preventing that soul from incarnating into this existance. Sex is a responsibility that we as Pagans must all share. In nature, sex is mearly a means of procreation, but a divine event in the creation of a new life. If you dont want the risk of children, don't have sex. Simple as the four elements. I know that there are many many Feminists who are also Wiccan, and many Feminists are pro-abortion.
I believe that society should regulate Abortion by making it illegal altogether since there are far too many irresposible people in the US. If not as a religious endeavor of the mainstream religion of Christianity, then as a simple correction in Morality and Ethics that America seems to be lacking as a whole.
| I Believe All Three Are Desperately Personal Issues And A Matter For... ||Mar 27th. at 5:16:21 am EST|
|Skye Cat (Edinburgh, Scotland UK) ||Age: 28 - Email |
I believe all three are desperately personal issues and a matter for personal choice. Society should not make the ethical decisions for the individual.
To me, abortion is most definitely a personal choice. It is my body. It's also a very difficult decision for any person to make. Like many women, I've been in the "missed period" situation, and had to look at my options. Luckily, I wasn't pregnant. Personally, I wouldn't have chosen to give birth to a child I would have resented, but neither could I have given a child up for adoption. Cultural conditioning is very strong.
Personally, I am extremely careful with my contraceptive choices. I believe that free access to good quality contraception, and better sex education helps a lot (I was amazed, when living in the US, that free contraception is not available). But people are always going to make mistakes. That's human nature.
Making abortion illegal wouldn't stop it happening. It would just lead to women jeopardising their health through back alley doctors and coat hangers once more. It would be a step backward, not a step forward.
I believe there is a place for euthanasia, too. It needs to be carefully controlled, however. Our worst serial killer was a doctor called Harold Shipman, recently convicted of killing over 40 old ladies with morphine. Care would need to be taken to ensure that there was no abuse of this kind. Everyone can do something to help, as someone below suggested, by making their wishes in the event of incapacitation known. It would make the families lives much easier.
As to suicide, I do not believe that those who choose this path should be condemned. I would hope, too that they could get access to the help and support they need to avoid taking this path. Everyone's life can have beauty and meaning, no matter how difficult the circumstances. People the world over prove that every day.
I hope that everyone here with sad stories to share (some have already) finds peace.
| While I Do View All Life As Sacred, I View An "honorable... ||Mar 27th. at 6:55:01 am EST|
|Trish Telesco (Western, New York US) ||Age: 40 - Email |
While I do view all life as sacred, I view an "honorable" death for those doomed to long suffering illnesses and abortion as highly personal choices. The ethical issue for each person should be weighed with due consideration. Suicide is a little different because it can be motivated by chemical and physical imbalances that drive an individual to an extreme measure they would not otherwise take. This is the one instance in which (if known about) I would step in and at least try to step in and assess the underlying cause to see if any type of help would deter such drastic action.
| I Am Only 16, And I Know That If I Got Pregnant... ||Mar 27th. at 8:18:25 am EST|
|Imelza Dragon'sEye (Satffordshire, England UK) ||Age: 16 |
I am only 16, and I know that if I got pregnant now, that I'd jave an abortion. I don't think there is any point in me bringing in a new life to the world when I don't have the maturity/knowledge/money to give the child a good life. By having an abortion, I'd probably hate myself, but at least I know that I'd be able to wait and give a child a better life in 10 years time.
As for suicide, I felt suicidal just over a year ago, but I managed to pull myself out of it. I'm now glad that I didn't kill myself. It is a very theoretical question because most people don't know what it is really like (myself included) but I wouldn't think badly about anybody who was that desperate.
I agree with euthanasia as long as the person in question is able to communicate their wishes. However, it could be abused by unscrupulous 'relatives'
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