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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 21,244,439  

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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 

These Are Very Difficult Issues, And Reading Through Others' Response Has Made... Mar 27th. at 9:22:21 pm EST

Jessyak Boyle-- Jaiyla (North Port, Florida US) Age: 19 - Email

These are very difficult issues, and reading through others' response has made me think about other sides to the story. My own opinion is that that all of these things are up to the individual.

On euthanasia, I have always believed that this should be an option open to the terminally ill. My own grandfather died of a prolonged bout of cancer and his last few months were spent unconscious on morphine, having nightmares about WWII, from which he woke up crying and mumbling feverishly at times. I wonder today if he had had the option of euthanasia, would he have taken it? I have also heard stories of patients who are terminally ill (and I have just heard them as stories, I have no proof to back them up, but I am repeating this because it seems to make psychological sense) in other countries where euthanasia is an optionliving considerably longer than the "alotted" time, due to the fact that they simply have the option. It occurs to me that knowing you have the ability to end it if it becomes too much would take off a lot of stress, stress which would contribute to your deterioration. The issue of euthanasia also presented itself to me in the case of those who are permanently disfigured or handicapped. I've heard of those who have been in accidents and become parapalegic and their quality of life has gone downhill to the point where they won't even eat unless forced. For these people, perhaps that option would be the one thy go for. There are others in the same situation however who have wonderful quality of life thereafter. It is indeed a very individual thing.

On the issue of suicide, I feel it is one of personal choice. I personally admire one person in history for commiting suicide: Boudicca of the Iceni. Rather thn be dragged into Rome in chains as a trophy and married off to some bureaucrat, she chose to end her life with dignity. The issue of suicide today however, usually involves a person who is depressed, has mental problems, or is dealing with situations he or she feels are out of control. This is not always the case, but this is what we think of as most common. In these cases, they could be prevented if we got involved and helped one another. The suicide statistics are a sad one. But in the end, I do think it is up to the individual whether or not to take their own life...

On the issue of abortion, I am very much pro-choice, considering the fact that if I were to become pregnant today, this would be the option I would choose. I am in no state, financially, emotionally, or responsibility-wise, to raise a child. If I were to raise a child at this point in my life, I feel it would stop me from developing as an individual, and strain my growth in my new found independence. Further, if I were to put said child up for adoption, how could be certain that the home they were placed in would provide adaquately for her or him? How do I know that their situation might not turn ugly? How could I do this in good conscience when I know the statistics about foster homes, children who are over the age of 10 getting adopted, or of those children who are handicapped being cared for, or those born to drug addict parents? I personally believe in reincarnation, so I know the aborted child will move on to the next life. It could be argued that keeping abortion legal is like handing some young women permission to go and be promiscuous, that abortion is used by many as a form of birth control. I do not deny that some women think of it thus, but the real issue is not the abortion here: if they gave up the child for adoption, do you think it would prevent them from going out and having promiscuous sex again? In many cases, even if they have and keep the child, the behavior doesn't change (I have winessed this in MANY of my friends). The issue is how they view themselves. Sometimes, not all times, when these women keep their children, they cannot care for them in a responible manner. Can they really nuture another person when they cannot nuture themselves? The problem isn't the fact that they view abortion as birth control, or that they go out and have these promiscuous relations and feel no responsibility-- this I feel is indicative of a problem on a deeper level, problems regarding how they view themselves and their level of self-esteem. I do believe that if it were treated as just such hurt, that we could help them to view themselves in a better light, and their need to engage in such behavior would be lessened. A woman who is raped I feel should always have the option of abortion. A woman's body is her own, she has the FINAL say as to what will happen.

If anyone would like to discuss this with me, feel free to email me.

I Read Over Some Of The Responses While I Was Thinking Up... Mar 27th. at 11:20:50 pm EST

Vincent Bosch (sumter, South Carolina US) Age: 20 - Email

I read over some of the responses while I was thinking up what to write (your right by the way. this is a verry emotional topic).

On Abortion, I beleave in my heart of hearts that it depends on the situation. My opinion (and by no means is this everyones) Is that in casess such as rape, poverty, danger to the mother during birth, or other health reasons im unaware of, abortion would be the right choice. My personal vew is that if you cant rase a kid, dont start trying to lay the foundation. Though, at the same time, I beleave it is the individualls choice, and that it shouldnt be left up to the government to decide when a case is appropriate or not.

euthanasia, I feal it is acceptible for both pepole and animals. I feal that animals (such as my cat and friend sitting on my lap right now) who are suffering so greatly and cant be helped, should be humainly and with dignity be put to sleep to end there suffering. It boggles my mind that we dont do this with humans as well. I know if I had cancer and knew I had maby 4 weeks left to live at best, and was in incredible pain, I would be begging to be put to sleep. Its a more peacefull way. We do this to our familiars when there terminaly ill. It isnt an easy choice. But we do it because we know there suffering. So, why force humans to suffer when there is no hope in this life to save them from the pain? And especialy if they WANT to be euthanised.

On suicide....that one is encredebly touchy to me for many reasons. Id have to say Its wrong.At least, when your a person who is in good health and not even close to likely to die soon, and your only doing it because you want to get away from your problems. My mother commited suicide when I was 6 years old. Im now 20. And not one day gose by where I dont wonder why she did it, or miss the sound of her voice. Or want to just be held in her arms one last time to say goodbye. She could verry well have ben alive to see me develop tallants and graduate highschool and move on with my life today if she hadnt. But she made a decission to leave me behind. I had a friend of mine a few years ago kill herself. For a long time I blamed myself because I wasnt there to stop her. I could have ben there, but I stayed home because I was tired that day. I never saw her again. She was always a verry happy girl and no one ever saw it comeing. I personaly thought it over for a few years till one day I came verry close to it. And when I think about how close I came it scares me every day. I realised at the last minute that if I did this, It would end all my problems. But it would hurt others in ways I would never expect. Far more than my problems where hurting me. I asked for help. Some of my problems I was concidering doing that over have gone away. some of them are the same and some have gotten worse. I do suffer from depression. But I get up every morning and at least try to realise I have a purpose (even if I dont know what it is yet:) Suicide hurts so many in so many ways I feal it cant be comprehended. There is always a reason not to commit suiccide. Its called hope. I hope this helps someone out there.

Hi!; This Kind Of Question Can Be Controversial, But Needs Be Faced... Mar 27th. at 11:36:20 pm EST

Tarostar (Toronto, Ontario CA) Age: 59 - Email


This kind of question can be controversial, but needs be faced.
As a male, I never felt I had a right to require any female to bear young
against her will.

Birthing is a female mystery I can not hope to experience.

No matter what any patriarchial authority, religious or governmental, says,
Witches have always known the formulas of remedies to abort. That knowledge
is part of "Craft" and has been used since before God.

Witches will avail themselves of those things as needed and desired.

Depriving women of the old Witch lore results in the coat hanger back alley
horror stories anti-abortionists love to portray.

Herbs can do it naturally with hardly any danger to the self. The problem being,
certain herbs can be made unavailable by the Powers That Want To Be.

That's why many of us grow them ourselves.

Suicide should be a dignified choice for the individual.

I always thought it silly for society to punish a person for attempted suicide. One
is punished by being put in the psycho ward for failing. Successful suicides can not be punished.

Judaeo-Xtian society can not cope with being rejected when a person wants to check out. I feel there should be hospices for those who want to end their lives
and have it done in a clinical setting a la Solyent Green.

Terminal illness should give a person's physician an authority with the will of the
sick person and his/her legal spokesperson to end suffering which is incurable.

All I can say is there is precedent where Witches can assist in these matters when the doctor can not.

It is not something openly discussed.

The coming and going of life is the core of women's mysteries. There is something deeply intuitive about them. BB Tarostar

Wow! Incredibly Charged Question, But One I Have Thought About Often. All... Mar 28th. at 12:51:02 am EST

Vivianne (Union City, New Jersey US) Age: 30

Wow! Incredibly charged question, but one I have thought about often. All my life I have been pro-choice, only recently after becoming a mother I realized that I am also and have always been pro-life. I support a woman's right to choose while realizing that that is never a choice I would make. In terms of Euthanasia, I think a spirit knows when it is time to leave this plane. Unfortunately, medicine sometimes interferes with the spirit's choice. Having been the child of a man who desperately wanted to leave when he chose to leave, I understand that the spirit knows. The state does not always get it, however. And suicide. Here is where my views become skewed. I disagree. I find suicide incredibly disturbing. Primarily because those in such dire need seem to almost always ask for help in some form. It upsets me so, to know that that person was let down by society. I do not, however, believe that that person is punished in the afterlife or in future incarnations. They will have to live through their decision at some point and work through the pain. I find it morally wrong and an affront to nature, but so is not helping a spirit in need.

Hi! Wow!what A Difficult Question. On Abortion.i Support A Woman's Right... Mar 28th. at 1:24:13 am EST

Rain BrightStar (Moore, Oklahoma US) Age: 40 - Email

Wow!What a difficult question.
On abortion.I support a woman's right to choose.It's between her and her physician.Period.
Suicide.I, personally, don't think it's the answer.But if one were dying a slow horrible death, it might be the thing to do.
Euthanasia?The same thing, if it's a slow horrible death, a person should have the option.This is a really tricky area for me.If we know that is the person's wishes.But, inevitably, there'd be ungrateful relatives who just want the person to die before all the inheritance is spent on medical.They might forge documents and finish off a person early.So I'm really unsure about it.
The dominant society should not be involved in these ethical dilemmas.Forcing its' will on peoples choices.
Peace and Love
Rain BrightStar

Ever Since Tempest's Tragic Suicide, I've Been Visiting Witchvox More Often And... Mar 28th. at 4:08:12 am EST

greenrose (Montreal, Quebec CA) Age: 52 - Email

Ever since Tempest's tragic suicide, I've been visiting Witchvox more often and reading the incredible amount of writing that people are sending in. My son committed suicide in 1988 at age 19 (2 days before his 20th). So this question brings up a lot of feelings for me. So much that I couldn't even find the energy to write to Tempest's mother to offer support, as much as I wanted to. (I'll keep trying.) I'll try to write some of what I feel here. I always hope it may help someone else, but I think it's really mostly to get my own feelings & thoughts out.

It's curious that I've never felt angry at my son for taking his own life. At least not as angry as I was at the fact that there is little support for people who are marginalized in any way in our modern, busy world. Especially young people. I've done a lot of reading, counseling and research on suicide in the past 12 years. The first thing I found out was that young people talk a lot about suicide, among themselves (mind you, I live in a province that has the highest suicide rate in North America).

Finding out the historical background of this taboo subject, and where & why it is still a crime to do it blew me away. At the time of my son's death I was on social aid (another taboo subject), and went to my local office to see if I could get some financial help for the funeral. Can you believe they told me I would have to apply to get my dead son on social assistance before they could even answer my questions? I was so broken at that time anyway that I spoke my mind quite openly and let them know how crazy they sounded! I can't remember the years, but until quite recently it was a crime to commit suicide in many places. Probably still is in some. The ultimate in adding insult to injury. Suicides are not weak, they see no other way out of pain.

One of the counselors who I've talked with (she worked with youth at risk for suicide) told me that she thought that many young people feel they are indestructable when they attempt suicide. They feel the long stretch of years before them. It is obviously a cry for help and an expression of extreme distress. Why commit suicide before asking for help? That's why I think youth often don't think they'll really die.

I also found out that my son was prescibed a drug for severe acne. (He lived with his father, so I didn't know about this till later.) One acne drug called Accutane, it is being discovered, can in some cases cause severe depression. I'm not blaming the drug, but it may have contributed. Lately I've heard of other youth suicides connected with this drug. Come to think of it, there are thousands of chemical in our world today. We don't know the effects of most of them, especially in combination. I have no moral judgement for people who attempt or succeed in suicide. I do feel it may be difficult "waking up" on the other side after death and somehow having to face the distress anyway.

I came into my Wiccan identity after this happened, although looking back I can see that it was always there. I'm not part of a close-knit group, but have a few key people in my life. But after a few years, noone wants to talk about this any more. And sometimes I still need to. I am very against criminalizing suicide and assisted suicide. (I can't write on abortion right now, I don't want to get too wordy.) My son's suicide has caused a lifetime of pain & loss for his father, his sister, his friends, our families and myself. He was a very gentle soul, a very creative and loving person.

He was heard to say that he didn't feel "worthy" shortly before he committed suicide. My hope is that the current global movement for social justice, peace and a healthy ecology will set the stage for a planet where we all feel in our deepest being that we are worthy of being loved. i remember an open Samhain ritual I attended a few years ago. I was about to write my son's name on a big white candle being passed around, and looked down and saw Seth already printed there. Thank you for listening.

Euthanasia, Suicide, Abortion. Three Very Tough Subjects. In All Three Respects There... Mar 28th. at 5:14:31 am EST

Ron (Ankharan/Shadow) Ellenbecker (St. Augustine, Florida US) Age: 36 - Email

Euthanasia, Suicide, Abortion.

Three very tough subjects.

In all three respects there is always the "depends on the situation." Each situation has it's own set of problems that can never be fully understood by anyone but the individule involved. It can be sympathized with, it can be comprehended, it can even be related to and identified with but, never fully understood by anyone except the individule.

No one person has the right to tell me so long as i am in control of my mental capacities that if I am in too much pain that will never go away, will not kill me, and cannot ever be cured that I do not have the right to end my suffering.

No one has the right to tell me that if I were a woman and my life were threatened, was raped or the baby is already passed on that I do not have the right to an abortion.

No one has the right to tell me that I know what I want now and in 40 years if I get into a vehicle accident and come to the point of never awakening from a vegitative state that I cannot make a will that states my wishes to put an end to it.

This of course only applies to me, I do not have the right to force my beliefs on anyone else.

Theer are counter arguments, usually filled with what ifs. What if humans could fly......

Being Pagan Like Most Of Your Readers Im Sure We All Believe... Mar 28th. at 5:35:58 am EST

Obsidian Mallikyte (Port Angeles, Washington US) Age: 20 - Email

Being Pagan like most of your readers im sure we all believe and at times have dealt with the fates, whos to say that they dont have plans for us. In Tempests case, while sad, much good came out of her CHOICE. 50 organs were donated from her and whos to say that those donations werent her destiny? We were all born with free choice we all fundemantely know our path its just a matter of listening carefully enough to hear it. while Abortion, Euthanasia and suicide may not be your path, it may be someone elses. You wouldnt know, only they would. Life, Death, ans Rebirth, it the way of nature.

Suicide?right" Wrong? I Can't Tell You Either Way. I Can Only... Mar 28th. at 6:00:42 am EST

lucky (Shakopee, Minnesota US) Age: 20

Suicide?right" wrong? I can't tell you either way. I can only tell you what I know from personal experiance.

When I was 15yrs old I had no friends, I was picked on all the time at school, I was beat up at the bus stop, I was failing all my classes at school. I lived in a poor family, so I never had a lot of material posessions. I lost all hope of fitting in. That summer I stole some money and bought a gun from one of the drug dealers that lived in the apartments down the streat from the ones that I lived in. I found that deciding to kill myself was a verey easy decision to make. I nolonger had to endure the daily humiliathion of getting bullied, or having the girls that I has crushes on laugh at me. It never crossed my mind how my family would be affected, or what came after death. the only thing that mattered was getting rid of the lonlyness that flooded my life. one morning I rode my bike down to the river and hid in the trees. I loaded the gun, closed my eyes and put the gun up to my head. remember how I said that deciding to take my life was easy. well deciding to pull the trigger is an entirely diffrent matter. I sat there thinking for an unknown amount of time. It seemed to take forever and at the same time it seemed like only moments. after some time though I made my decision and pulled the trigger. at first I was drown in a fealing of shock. i wondered if this is what death realy felt like. I didn't seem that much different than life. the shock only lasted a second though. I opened my eyes to find the gun still up against my head. The gun never went off though. I don't know weather to call it a mirrical or just plane dumb luck, but what ever it was it decided that it wasn't my time to die. It took me a wile to unjam the gun, but I finaly succeded. The gun that almost killed me is currently residing at the bottom of the minnesota river. The bullet I keep in a little pouch in my dresser to remind me of how close I came to killing my self. since than I've made several new friends. I have made many memories and I still am making memories to enjoy when I reach old age.

Again I can"t say if killing yourself is right or wrong. I can say that it is a more difficult decission than it seems. I just ask that all that face that decission remember that time is the best medecine for any pain. Concider how your decission will effect your family, friends, and your comunity.

These Choices Are So Difficult That They Must Remain The Choice Of... Mar 28th. at 6:06:48 am EST

dawn kressly (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida US) Age: 31 - Email

These choices are so difficult that they must remain the choice of the individual. I have always been pro-choice on the issue of abortion, simply because, "My Body, My Choice". The issue of and suicide remained difficult for me, until recently. Over the past few years of taking care of my Grandfather, who was suffering with Parkinsons Disease, my views on euthanasia and suicide became a little clearer. My Grandpa was a Catholic and as such would not consider suicide as a way out for himself, we did however have more than one discusion on the subject and had he not been so devout, he would have ended his suffering long before nature finally took him, and if he had asked me to help him, I would have. Would it have been the right thing to do? I'm still not sure, but I loved him and would have done anything to help him. Suicide and assisted suicide fall under the "My Body, My Choice" heading for me. Euthanasia is a little more touchy, simply because I feel that big insurance companies and hospitals would grab onto the idea for the dollar value alone, not taking into consideration the wishes of the individual. How to regulate something like that is such a diffucult idea.
All I know is that anyone faced with any of these choices should think long and hard about all the reprocussions of their actions. Blessings to all

I Have Varied Feelings On Abortion On One Hand I Feel If... Mar 28th. at 7:47:02 am EST

Joy (Mystic) (Mount Gambier, South Australia AU) Age: 15 - Email

I have varied feelings on Abortion on one hand I feel if you cant look after it properly dont have it but on the other I think if you didnt want it you should have taken precautions. I agree with Euthanasia on certain levels if it just a matter of time till you die, from a painfull illness then feel free but it has to be warented. Suicide i think thats a personal choice too.

This Is A Question That Has Been Debated For Years Now, But... Mar 28th. at 10:11:06 am EST

Jamie (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania US) Age: 27 - Email

This is a question that has been debated for years now, but I don't should be. Who are we, as a society or we, as a government, to restrain others in this matter.
No, abortion should not be used as birth controll. That very statement is what allows our arguments.
Have you thought about the woman who is pregnant from rape; or the couple who has been told the mother will not be able to carry the baby without dying. People should be able to make that heartbreaking choice!
It is the induviduals choice to make, not ours.....
As far as euthanasia goes, it's the same argument. It seems funny to me that people would contest this. I would deem living by a thread on a machiene with no hope to live normally, strange torture indeed!
No one should our moral decisions for us!

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