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Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 9,646,219  

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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. Reverse Sort 


I Do Think All Of These Issues Are Personal Choices, And Yet... Mar 27th. at 12:41:13 pm UTC

Greg (Mesa, Arizona US) Age: 24 - Email


I do think all of these issues are personal choices, and yet, we as a group/tribe/village, have the opportunity to help each other through these moments.

Abortion - Oooh, this one is tricky for me. I think that with the easy availability of birth control the opportunity for mistakes is severely reduced. We can get free condoms in America through any AIDS/HIV organization in a city near you. They always have jars, fish bowls, boxes of condoms in every office for people to pick up. I do see the in-utero being as a child, as a real life. The journey has begun, and for me, abortion is the extinguishing of that flame. Simultaneously, I do think that if the mistake (or something dreadful like rape) does occur and quality care can not be delivered to the child, then abortion is a valid, albeit unfortunate and very sad, choice. I think the Keep Your Laws Off My Body is a really cheap way to try and depersonalize a difficult issue. Let's call it like it is: abortion is a nightmare decision no matter which way you go.

Euthanasia - This one's much easier for me: I'm all for it. Everyone should have the right to end his/her own life if the quality is the pits. I don't want to end life in insufferable, long-term agony or a comatose state; without the quality, life's not worth it.

Suicide - I'm surprised at the vehement respones to this. It's important to impress upon those considering this that they only want to end their pain not their lives: the two are not entwined.

Love, Light, and Laughter to all!


First, I'd Like To Say That These Should Probably Be Seperate Questions... Mar 27th. at 1:04:39 pm UTC

Grey Streambank (San Diego County, California US) Age: 23


First, I'd like to say that these should probably be seperate questions... most people I know have different stances on abortion, euthanasia, and suicide.

Personally, as a man, I don't think it's really my place to have a view on abortion, other than to say I believe it should continue to be legal. This is an issue that individual women (and perhaps the baby's father) should make decisions on, since society at large seems to have no consensus on the subject. It should remain legal, for those who do not believe it wrong. If it involved a close friend or family member of mine, however, I would advise against it.

On the issue of suicide, I don't feel qualified to speak.

This leaves us with euthanasia. I am personally in favor of it in cases of terminal, incurable illness. My grandfather had such an illness - brain cancer - when I was a child, and among other things, spent the last five months of his life in a hospital, and due to our age, unable to see his grandchildren. (My sister and I were 4 and 6, respectively). I do not know whether my grandfather would have chosen euthanasia over this, but I believe the choice should have been available to him.


In My Personal Opinion, There Is Something Wrong In All Taking Of... Mar 27th. at 2:28:39 pm UTC

Kaicielia BlueDragon (Madison, Wisconsin US) Age: 25 - Email


In my personal opinion, there is something wrong in all taking of life, whether prenatal, or "mercy" killing. I have to admit, however, that I have never had the unfortunate opportunity to experience any of these happenings firsthand. My sister once had an abortion, but I lived 1200 miles away from her at the time, and didn't hear about it until months after the fact. I have never discussed it with her. I do not agree with the decision she made, but I will not jeopardize our relationship with such things.
Although I believe that these things are wrong, I acknowledge the fact that these are my beliefs. Beliefs, which are different and changing in all walks of life, should not be included into laws. No one has the right to regulate such actions, and the people wishing to utilize such things have the right to.
Suicide, however, has different aspects to it than the other two. In most cases, the person committing suicide is not only young, but also troubled in many ways. Most see their problems in a magnifying glass, generally they are not thinking straight when it occurs. Anyone believeing that their life is not worth living needs to be delt with quickly. They need to be shown that their life is worth living. Things change, always. In my experience, they generally get better. With proper counseling, these people can live a good, healthy, happy life.


I Think It Is Wrong Because Of The Law "harm None... Mar 27th. at 3:04:13 pm UTC

SiiJric (Houma, Louisiana US) Age: 17 - Email


I think it is wrong because of the law "Harm None"


My Response To This Is Extremely Emotionally Charged, And Although I Have... Mar 27th. at 3:51:03 pm UTC

A Solitary Wiccan (Somewhere in..., Massachusetts US) Age: 26


My response to this is extremely emotionally charged, and although I have been active on these boards and others for quite some time, I will be withholding both my usual name and my email address on this issue for my own protection.

Ultimately, I feel that all of these are the choice of the individual.

Suicide is a tragic one, and a personal decision with repercussions that spread outward. The pain of the suicidal person is passed onto loved ones who miss that person once they're gone.

Euthanasia is, just as with our animal companions, often a blessing underneath the loss of a loved one. It is an end to suffering, and while I think should only be used in extreme cases, should be legalized when there is no other recourse. Let a person die with dignity if they choose.

Abortion is a tough one, and as someone who has gone through this, it is NOT an easy choice to make, and those who make the decision to terminate a pregnancy always walk the painful road of recovery/mourning/penitence (for lack of a better word) alone. I know I made the right decision because I was in no condition to raise a child when I became pregnant--emotionally or in maturity, but I also have regrets because I KNOW that it was not a black and white issue. Many people suggest adoption instead-- I've been there, too, as I am a closed-adoption baby from the mid-70's. Although I love my (adoptive) parents, there is always the knowledge that I was given away, and that I was not wanted by the woman who carried me for nine months. As I get older, and see my friends having children, and my cousins starting to look like their parents, it's become more and more difficult because I feel completely alone, and now even moreso because I have given up being a parent to what would have been a beautiful child. The only solace I feel is knowing that the soul of my child has gone back up to rest until it is time to come to earth again.


Personally, I Think Suicide Is A Sefish, Selfish, Selfish Act Unless One... Mar 27th. at 4:42:06 pm UTC

Stormy (Chickasha, Oklahoma US) Age: 23 - Email


Personally, I think suicide is a sefish, selfish, selfish act unless one is terminally ill. Mental illness can be helped. It depends on if the person or persons are willing to get that help. I have a friend who was just about ready to take himself out, but he hasn't done it because he got help. Suicide is an act of loneliness, it really really is. As for the religious implications, in the end, it is between that person and God. Abortion is not something I think I could do personally, but I do think that I should be able to have the right to make that choice. The decision is between me and God. Euthanasia should only be done if the person is terminally ill or has been in a coma for a long, long time and/or would not want to live life on a machine. Again, the decision to be euthanized is between the person and God. These are all personal decisions. Each of these decisions are selfish decisions in some way. Humans are very controlling creatures, they truly truly are. In some ways, we have to be for our survival, but we want too much to interfere with what we "perceive" to be the survival of another being. If I talk to someone who is suicidal, or wants to get an abortion, or wants to be euthanized, I can talk till I am blue in the face, in the end, they will make whatever decision they feel is "right" for them. All I can do after that is know that I did "my part" and come to terms with it.


Greetings All, My Name Is Heidi, And Iam A 35 Year Old... Mar 27th. at 5:06:14 pm UTC

heidi (Seattle, Washington US) Age: 35


Greetings all,
My name is heidi, and Iam a 35 year old pagan, on a Germanic and Slavic heathen path. I have been openly pagan since I was 21.
Iam writing this to share my feelings, and experiences particularly in regards to suicide. I realise this isn't intended as a forum for therapy, but I wanted to share my views, and the events that have formed them.

My personal feelings are that noone has the right to regulate anyones decisions
regarding abortion, euthanasia or suicide. They are not crimes, moral or spiritual. Death and life are intertwined.

If I had cancer, (or some other malady) and was withering away, or in great pain, yes, I would want to be aided to the otherside. With my family around me, and as comfortably as possible.

Suicide is not so clear cut, and I can see many sides to this issue. Being a good Libran, I am destined to do this! :)
There are times for example, when Iam sure dying by ones own hand would be a far better fate than being raped by soldiers, sold into slavery, or tortured to death.

How many Gauls died by their own swords rather than become trophies for Rome? How many many woman took that poison draught in stead of being torn apart by the mobs at the gate? What of Bobby Sands and the men in Northern Ireland who chose to starve to death rather than comply with the British Government?

Self sacrifice for ones people, a cause, or choosing to die with diginity, by ones own hand, has occured in most places and times.
Who would call it a crime to choose death by ones own hand over any horrific alternative? To step off the cliff rather than live a life of shame, torment, or slavery? or worse?
The descion to not "fall into enemy hands" and choose our moment of death is an act of autonomy. We have control of few things, but we can decide to end our lives.

That said,

Who could stand by and watch a man jump off a bridge, doing nothing to save him if they could? Or not try to stop a teenager from swallowing sleeping pills?

Yes, the prisoner of war who takes that cianide pill isn't in a stable mental state either, and noone should ever have to make that choice unless they see no other way out.
Would I be able to take that pill?
Who knows, maybe I would if the alternative was far more horrific, and I was despaired enough. Or if I truly believed it was my duty as a soldier to do so.

In the case of attempted suicide due to depression, or mental illness I feel that we should interviene if possible. For many people who attempt it, they are driven to do so by sorrow, and depression. Feeling isolated and "different".
Not knowing where to turn for help, and not getting it when they do cry out for help. For some it is severe mental illness, undiagnosed. The influence of drugs or alcohol only adds to the problem.
I respect a persons right to want to end their pain, and suffering.
However, there are other options to suicide that should be tried first. Therapy, counceling, love( corny I know, but it works), support from people who care and in some cases medication.

If nothing else works, and they still cannot go on, then who am I to say they
have not fulfilled their lives on this earth, and let them go on to the otherworld? What then? I do not know.
This is hard to reconcile, as my own personal experience cause me to think twice about letting someone who suffers from aguish and pain commit suicide.

My own father committed suicide when I was 5years old.

As a child I had no idea how he died, but was told the truth about his death when I was a teenager.
At the time I was angry at him for taking his life.
I felt abandoned, betrayed, and shamed. If he had died in Vietnam, like some of my peers fathers had, then that I could have understood. Or if an accident had taken his life. It was hard to not have him in my life. I lied to people who asked me where my father was. I said he died in an accident. I grew up with a huge hole in my heart, one I have been healing ever since.

I know little about him, except he was a very passionate and troubled man.
That he was gifted as an artist, and a writer. I know he loved children, poetry, Bob Dylan, and the Byrds. But, he also grew up in an alcoholic family, and had a profound sense of not being loved. Never able to finish jumping through the hoops my grandmother set ever higher for him. His own father had abandoned him when he was an infant, leading my grandmother to lie and cover up the facts. My father found out the truth and was devastated. He had a cold, and
painful childhood.

My father met and married my mom after only dating for a week. Then a year later in '65 I came along. My father withdrew, grew moodier, and stayed away from home for days. Yelling at my mom, and verbally abusing her. My mother didn't know what to do.
It was then he became increasingly violent, and this led my mother to leave him, to protect us. She could put up with his verbal abuse, but when he started to become violent that was the last straw. My mother left him.
It was the hardest thing she ever did, but she feared for my life.

The 60's where in full gear, and he joined in the party, using all the drugs of the day, and experiencing the "counter" culture. For many people at the time this was an amazing experience, and opened their minds to so many wonderful things. However, for many it only left them burned out, or lost.
This is the path my father took. He began to spiral downwards into his mental illness, fueled by drugs and isolation.
We heard from him occasionally, and I remember my last visit with him, he had long hair and looked like Jim Morrison, -with the beard.
We spent the day writing music, and playing guitar. I told him I loved him, he said he loved me. It was over in a flash, and then, he was gone.

I later learned from my mother that he had phoned after the visit and threatened my her with violence, and wanted to "take me away". His threats were real enough enough that he was forbidden to see me, until he got "help".

I never saw him again.
At the age of 27 he hung himself and left no note.

Perhaps if he had been a young man living in this time, with all our support and knowledge about depression, childhood abuse, and alcoholism, he may have gotten help. Or he may not. But he chose to no longer live with the emotional anguish and inner torment he felt every day. I suspect his mental illness was deeper than my family new at the time.

Now as a 35 year old woman, who has a better understanding of mental illness
I have forgiven him for leaving me so soon, and I understand why he set his spirit free, to return to the Isle of Apples, or Hella's Halls, to await rebirth.
There have been times in my own life, when I in a moment of extreme pain, sorrow and self doubt have thought about suicide as my only option.
I never did it. I couldn't.
I have worked hard to end the legacy of my fathers mental illness. Through counceling, and my spiritual path I have healed my own"father loss".
In a way he was never able to.
I revel in the wonderful qualities my father Nicolas gave me, I try to live my life as strong, artistic and kind woman, in his honor.
I see him in the mirror every day, in my Slavic features.
Our features.

Would I have stopped him him from tying his noose if I could go back in time?
I think I would have.
Because until you have had a loved one commit suicide, you can not understand the pain it causes everyone around them. Ripples on a pond.
On the other hand his death affected me in ways that reveal themselves constantly. Would I have been as strong as I am now? Would I have become who I am today had he lived? Would he have caused me more pain and sorrow if he had lived? It happened so long ago.
This is a hard question to answer, and I don't know if I will ever have the answer.

Thank you for reading my thoughts.

May you your Gods see you, May you be blessed with health, strength and love!

Hail to the Gods of my heart!
In peace,
heidi


I Think That Euthanasia And Abortion Should Be Decisions Made By An... Mar 27th. at 6:02:07 pm UTC

Zephyr Nightmoon (-, Oregon US) Age: 14


I think that euthanasia and abortion should be decisions made by an individual, not the government.

I know that if I was dying of a terminal illness, withering away and suffering every minute, I would want to die. What's the point, if there isn't any chance for survival, of lingering? I think that people should have the right to make this choice, which is why I support euthanasia.

Abortion is another right that an individual should have. I don't support abortion as a method of birth control in cases of carelessness, but that doesn't mean that people shouldn't have the right. I think that in some cases, abortion is necessary. One obvious instance is in cases of rape. Another is if it would be better for the child. If it had a horrible disablility, and would never really "live" (as we know it) or spend it's whole life hooked up to machines, it would be better not to be born at all. Or if it as going to be born into an impoverished family (like in a third world country) and would probably end up dying of starvation anyway. Many people preach against abortion, but would never adopt an unwanted child or help care for a poor one.

As for suicide, I can't condone that. I have a friend who repeatedly tries to kill herself. She's not just hurting herself, she's hurting everyone who cares about her. I appeal to anyone out there who is considering this selfish way out of things NOT TO DO IT if you care about anyone. You need help; don't be afraid to seek it.


I Consider All Three Of These To Be Personal Decisions That Society... Mar 27th. at 6:25:11 pm UTC

Melissa Preston (Roswell, Georgia US) Age: 24 - Email


I consider all three of these to be personal decisions that society does not have the right to "regulate" through legal channels.

In the case of euthanasia, I can not imagine having the audacity to tell someone in physical and mental pain and stress near the end of their life that they "have" to remain alive because of society's or my squeemishness about death. I believe that one has the "right" to die with dignity.

During a recent email list discussion, I was part of a topic about whether or not we felt "all paths were valid". I made the statement that if we were truly a community who cared deeply for one another's worth and acted as if each person around us was a valuable person, there would be a lot fewer paths that we might consider invalid. I think that thought can apply to the questions of suicide and abortion.

People commit suicide for a multitude of reasons. But many of those reasons could be alleviated if we paid attention and cared for the people in our lives. If we were there to make sure the mentally ill person received the treatment they needed...if we were there to shelter and feed the person who can not do so for themselves...if we were a friend to the person without any...if we gave a smile and encouragement to the one who need it...if we refused to allow hate to go unchecked in our community...if we refused to ignore...to look the other way...to be "too busy"...to not want to get involved...to assume it is someone else's problem...
In the end, suicide is a *very personal decision that I do not believe is morally wrong, but there are many, many steps on the way to suicide, and if we tried to be there for those steps, I think there would be a lot fewer suicides.

Now, I'm going to repeat myself.

Women have abortions for a multitude of reasons. But many of those reasons could be alleviated if we paid attention and cared for the people in our lives.
If we were there to assist the woman who can not afford a child...if we supported the woman who can not have a child in the middle of an abusive relationship...if we were there for the children of our community to teach them about relationships, sex, and pregnancy...if we woke up and did something to *fix* our adoption and foster system...if we were friends with the girl who thinks having a baby is the only way she will be loved, then gets scared and lost during the pregnancy...if we were friends with the children of our community who are scared to talk to their parents about their pregnancy...if we did our part to change the attitudes that make taboos out of single parenthood, poor parenthood, or letting your child be adopted...
In the end, having an abortion is a *very personal decision that I do not believe is morally wrong, but there are many, many steps on the way to an abortion, and if we tried to be there for those steps, I think there would be a lot fewer abortions.


If I Have Cancer And Have To Have Chemo Therapy, I Want... Mar 27th. at 6:43:45 pm UTC

another solitary witch (somewhere in, Washington US) Age: 0


If I have cancer and have to have chemo therapy, I want marijuana. If I am terminal and will die in great pain. I want Dr Kevorkian. Suicide is usually the act of insanity but there are some circumstances I can see it. Euthanasia, I could never presume to choose for another, unless I am their mother. As for abortion I think it should be a freely chosen option. I am the mother of a severely handicapped child and while I do not wish her death I know the agony these children sometimes have and there are many people who should not be the parents trapped in the agony with them. There are the siblings to think about and there are NO public alternatives. Either the parents take care of them or they are vulnerable to being beaten, starved or raped in their beds by poorly paid caregivers. And it has been in the news too often. How can you hand a child over to live that life. Abortion at least gives the alternative of a better chance at the next life.Pardon my anonymous signature.


On Abortion: My Mother Has Worked In The Field Of Child Protective... Mar 27th. at 7:21:14 pm UTC

Thorstein (Nashville, Tennessee US) Age: 34 - Email


On abortion: My mother has worked in the field of child protective services for most of her life. I've seen the results of unwanted pregnancies in the form of some VERY screwed-up kids. Usually they are the victims of abuse, neglect, and are kept around for the sole purpose of drawing a welfare check. That's the cold-hearted truth, folks. I would love to live in a world where every child is loved, cherished, and wanted. Who wouldn't? We don't.
You don't like/want abortion? Start adopting kids. There aren't enough qualified families out there, and if the Religious Right would get off their ass and follow the example of Mother Theresa, there would be alot less unwanted children in the world.
Then again, most of the Religious Right (read "REICH") isn't worthy enough to lick the DIRT Mother Theresa walked on.

On suicide: I would hope that people- ESPECIALLY young people- would find help with their pain and not take this option. I had a dear friend in high school commit suicide. One day I see him, the next day a friend calls me to say "Paul shot and killed himself." The anger I felt was indescribable. Why didn't he come to us? Why didn't he say what was troubling him? I'll never know. It hurts those you love and who love you. And that's DEFINITELY against the reed.

On euthanasia: Would YOU want to live life in a coma? Then again that really isn't LIVING is it?


I Believe That All Three Are Personal Choices. Just Because I Wouldn't... Mar 27th. at 7:33:02 pm UTC

The Voice of Many Waters (Slidell, Louisiana US) Age: 22 - Email


I believe that all three are personal choices. Just because I wouldn't do one of them, does not give me the right to tell someone else that it is wrong for them to do. I could not abort a child because "I believe" that live is a gift and a blessing. But I would not discourge anyone from having an abortion if that is the choice they have made. I might give them other options, but I would not say that they are wrong. Euthanasia I believe in some cases is a relief to those suffering. However I would strongly perfer another treatment meothed if it was available, example, "Johhnny, is 35, just found out this morning he has cancer and wants to be euthanised." I would hope that Johhnny would try kemo-therapy first. Suicide. There should be a rule that you must at least be 25 before you even think about sucicide. I believe that there are too many teenagers out there who believe that this is their only option to stop the pain.
I also believe that if you commit sucide as a weapon to hurt another it is wrong. Once again i would implore the person to consider other options.
Suicide may end your pain, but it just begins the pain for those who love you.
Suicide now done with honor, let say, "Hero kills himself so Yee may live, " that is acceptable to me, that becomes honorable, because you gave your life for another, now if you kill yourself because, "you lost all your money on the stock market, or your husband cheats on you, " that is simply stupid. Now in the case of Tempest, its just plain sad. I strongly advocate more councling and higher education of school personal to reconize, and help children in need.
Well that is my thoughts on the matter, I am not saying that they are right or wrong, just that they are what I believe and feel.


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