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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: 19,179,107  

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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 

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!

These Are Extremely Difficult Matters To Be Discussed. Many People Have Very... Mar 28th. at 10:42:31 am EST

snowgoddess (Burlington, Vermont US) Age: 18 - Email

These are extremely difficult matters to be discussed. Many people have very strong opinions, and mine are also rather strong. I believe that people ought to have a choice in all three cases. Life is precious, and I hope that everyone knows that. There is so much good in the world that it sometimes over-whelms me, but there is also much hatred. Women know when they can take care of a child and when they cannot. I don't want to see a child going up neglected, abused, or harmed in any way. I respect life too much. If that would be the case, I think abortion should be made an option. I don't know whether or not I would have one.
With Euthanasia and suicide -- people know what works for them. They should be able to make the decicision. Suicide scares me some, since it seems so easy. I doubt it would be easy to pull the trigger, though.

I've Been Thinking About This Since I Saw The Topic. I Have... Mar 28th. at 10:49:37 am EST

Eowyn Forestchilde (Western, Massachusetts US) Age: 28 - Email

I've been thinking about this since I saw the topic. I have been confronted about the abortion topic many times and my answer is simply this: I support the right for a safe, legal, medical procedure. Whether or not to have an abortion a personal issue, but no one should be denied the right of medical attention.

As for euthanasia, I have had some experience with that. Diabetes took my cousin's sight, his leg, his kidneys and eventually his life. When he was finally confined to a wheelchair, he asked his wife to end his suffering. He knew that the diabetes was going to kill him eventually and he could no longer live in a body that was dying all around him in slow painful pieces. The one thing that the diabetes didn't touch was his mind. He was a brilliant scientist and continued his work until the end. His wife refused and he went on for many more years before succumbing to the illness. I donŐt know how to feel about euthanasia, truthfully. I think that on one hand, it was within JerryŐs rights to take his own life. He knew that he was dying and that there was no hope for recovery. On the other hand, if he had taken his life when he wanted to, his daughter would have lost precious time with a father who loved her. Where do you draw the line? I think it has to be when the pain overcomes the quality of life and there is no hope of recovery. I think about cancer patients as I say this. They have pain and for some, remission and cure are as unbelievable as little green men. But what about the quality of the time they have left? This is the deciding factor, I think.

Suicide is something I am intimately acquainted with. I have tried to take my own life. I have lived without hope and rationalized all the reasons to kill myself. I thank the Gods everyday that I did not. I was lucky. I cannot stand in judgment of someoneŐs decision to commit suicide. I cannot even stand in judgment of the people around them that let it happen. I can only say that it needs to stop. I grieve for a society that is so oblivious to the pain of its loved ones. These are not even strangers IŐm talking about, but family members, friends, lovers and even co-workers. It seems to me that there is a responsibility to look out for those we care about. I am as guilty as anyone for losing sight of that. I have gone for months without talking to my own sister. What could have happened in that time?

How things like Abortion, Euthanasia, and Suicide are handled is something that individuals must determine for themselves. They should not be left to society at large. They should not be left to strangers. They should not be left to the moral climate of the times that we live in É for that can change in a heartbeat. Look to yourself. Look to your loved ones, those who know you best and can help you. It is no crime to ask for help or advice. Someone you know may have been there before you and can give you guidance É but you will never know unless you talk to someone.

But thatŐs just the way I see things É I could be wrong.

Abortion, Euthansia/suicide Are Personal Decisions...although I Do Not Believe The... Mar 28th. at 12:22:09 pm EST

Maeve (Robbinsdale, Minnesota US) Age: 35

Abortion, euthansia/suicide are personal decisions...although I do not believe the decision should be made by the individual "alone" (family would be great but obviously not always the best option). It would be too easy for someone under alot of stress, suffering from depression or pain to choose "death" as the fastest, and easiest way "out" with out some type of intervention. With abortion, a hasty decision could cause a lifetime of regret for the individual; with suicide, a lifetime of regret for family and friends.

Of course this is where society likes to step in...yes, they (abortion and euthansia, if ever legalized) need to be regulated to make sure abuse (definition of abuse: parents forcing teanage daughters to abort, women using abortion as their only means of "birth control", children forcing elderly parents to be euthanisized, children with disabilities/abnormalties aborted before birth or euthanized after) do not happen, but the regulation should be non-religious and based upon the best interest of the person seeking assistance.

Emotionally Charged. I Nominate That Statement For The Understatement Of The Year... Mar 28th. at 1:45:33 pm EST

ChromeZephyr (West Valley City, Utah US) Age: 23 - Email

Emotionally charged. I nominate that statement for the Understatement of the Year Award. *grin* Anyways...

I guess the real crux of this question is one of personal freedom vs. institutional regulation. Myself, I am pro-choice on all accounts. That is not to say I agree with abortions (for the most part I find the practice disgusting, ) but I cannot say for anyone else whether they can or cannot make that choice for themselves It is, after all, their life and they will have to deal with the aftermath of making that decision. As for grandfather's last six months of life were a living hell as his systems rotted from within due to two forms of cancer. I wonder frequently if, given the chance, he would have chosen to just turn up the drip and drift away. But it should be up to the person, not their family, or their doctors, or (Goddess forbid) the health care companies (sanctioned murder of an elderly patient because it will cut costs makes me shudder at the thought.)

Suicide is a touchy subject. I've been there, sitting in a darkened room with the knife to my wrist and waiting until I could find the courage to make the cut. I've helped friends work through it (sadly, experience does seem to be the best teacher for that.) I find the thought that anyone would willfully remove themselves from this series of lessons repulsive...Yes, I know, I was there and quite willing to do just that. I've had a lot of time since then to think about that choice and see what I would have missed. Scary. But, how can I say to someone "Yes, your life sucks, your significant other just left you for someone else, you lost your job, your apartment, your family hates you, etc. etc. etc....but you can't kill yourself! No! Bad!" In the end, it's their choice...and I've seen both sides of that choice with friends (--I'll see you next time around, ke'chara--).

So, the entire point of that long-winded ramble was that, in the end, this life is full of choices to make...and those three are just a small part of it.

I Cannot And Will Not Ever Support Any Religion Or "majority Moral... Mar 28th. at 2:34:11 pm EST

Iko (Chicago, Illinois US) Age: 36 - Email

I cannot and will not EVER support any religion or "majority moral view" that attempts to legislate, dictate or otherwise impose rules regarding what I can or cannot do to my own body, or what you can or cannot do to your own body. My life has been touched by suicide (my uncle and a good college friend both killed themselves), euthanasia (my brother was removed from a ventilator and allowed to die "naturally" at the end of a long battle with a fatal disease, he was 20). I have had two miscarriages, but I have never had an elective abortion. I have been there for friends when they faced the decision and the consequences of ending an unwanted pregnancy. So, not only have I thought about all of these topics, I have lived with the real world consequences of two of the three, and felt the enormous loss that follows a miscarriage, and the pain others go through in deciding on having an abortion.

Abortion: Perhaps the saddest of the big three listed here. Personally I would hope that we can evolve as a society to a point at which birth control is freely and cheaply available and family planning is talked about openly. Abortion should never be treated as birth control. Just as we put on seat belts before we drive our cars we should teach kids (and adults) to use protection before they engage in sexual activities. Schools should teach family planning, starting in Jr. High, just as they teach any other subject. Parents should be open and forthright about sex with their children before children hit puberty. Teach a child to value and treasure his or her body, give that child the knowledge and the tools to keep themselves healthy (both mentally and physically) you most likely will have raised a child who will never be involved with an unwanted pregnancy. Contrary to fundamentalist religious leaders, teaching children about the mechanics and consequences of sex does not make children more promiscuous. Promiscuity is much more likely in children with low self-esteem who see sex as something forbidden and mysterious - these are children who are forced to learn about sex from TV, movies, "dirty" magazines and locker room chat. Teach a child to understand, treasure, respect and care for his or her body and you will also find a child who is much less likely to have sex too young, or without protection. Unfortunately there will always be unwanted pregnancies. No birth control method is 100% effective, and there will always be rape and incest. Ultimately the only person who should be able to legally make a decision regarding such pregnancies is the woman or girl who is pregnant. No government, judge, parent, church or man should ever be able to tell the pregnant woman or girl what she can or cannot do with the baby she is carrying before the baby is viable.

Suicide: We need to make sure as a society that we have in place as many safety nets as we can possibly put into place to help catch desperate individuals who are consumed with mental pain before they reach the point of suicide. We need to talk about mental illness and suicide with our children, in our schools, with our friends and co-workers. We need to become a society that no longer treats the mentally ill and their families as if they are carrying some awful stigma. I know how hard it can be to have a mentally ill family member. I know the toll it takes on the entire family, and not just the individual who is ill. I truly believe the VAST majority of suicides are preventable. Find a way to stop the individual's mental pain, and you will stop the suicide. However, if an individual is determined to take his or her own life there is no way anybody will ever stop that person. How can any of us judge the individual who takes his or her life? It was not our life, and ultimately it was not our decision to make. I do believe we must do all we can do to help those who cry out for help, but when a person succeeds in ending his or her life, none of us should be allowed to pass judgment on their action. We can mourn them, we can be mad at them, but we cannot judge them. We have no way to know the real pain they were enduring, and how can we say, really say, their decision was morally wrong.

Euthanasia: We must tread very carefully down this road. We already warehouse our parents and grandparents in nursing homes. We must not become a society where it is easier to "put someone to sleep" than to care for them in their later years. We must help individuals manage pain, manage aging and the disabilities that accompany the final stage of life. We need the medical profession to take pain management for those with cancer and other diseases very, very, very seriously. Euthanasia must be treated like the final option it is, and it must be a decision that only the person who is going to die makes. Period. That said, we should be able to make decisions FOR OURSELVES before we reach the point where the pain is unbearable, or before we are incapacitated. You can protect yourself now by writing a living will (check the requirements for making it legal in your state). Generally with a living will you can make sure that no "heroic" methods are used to extend your life if you are deemed to be dying. Once you are put on a respirator or have a feeding tube inserted it can be very difficult to legally remove them. Write the living will and give it to family member(s) who you KNOW will follow your wishes. If the end is inevitable, and the pain is still unbearable (after the doctors have done EVERYTHING they can do to manage it), then and only then should the individual have the option of ending his or her life. This cannot be a decision made by anybody but the individual. I fear that people will find it easier (and cheaper) to "put grandma to sleep" than to care for her and give her a quality of life if we do not take great precautions on just how euthanasia is used. However, it should be an option and a decision the individual can make. This is not a decision to be made by committee, the only person who can make this decision is the person who is dying..

I've Had At Least Some Experience With All Three Of These. I'll... Mar 28th. at 2:43:22 pm EST

Lonely Cat (somewherein, Texas US) Age: 20

I've had at least some experience with all three of these. I'll start with the easiest, euthanasia. When I was 12 my cat's kidneys finally gave out. She was very old for a cat, living to be 20, and had a good life, and I wasn't mad at my mom for having her put to sleep. It was the first death of a family member I went through, and I mourned her very much, but she would have died soon anyway, and was in a lot of pain. It was the right decision, and I think humans should also have that option. Of course it depends on the individual situation, but I am sure in some situations euthanasia is appropriate.

Suicide is different. I've been suicidal on and off ever since I first started getting picked on in elementary school (Tempest, I know how you felt). I think most people who commit suicide are very depressed, or feel they have no other way to end their problems, and in that case they need help. Luckily in high school I got help with the school counselor and now I at least don't actually try suicide anymore. I'm still depressed a lot, but I am going to get help. People who are suicidal don't need punishment or ridicule. They need help and love.

As for abortion, I feel that no one has the right to say someone shouldn't get an abortion until they've faced pregnancy themselves. I say this as a person who, yes, actually has had an abortion. NO, I am NOT a slut. In fact, I didn't lose my virginity until I was 19, and when I did it was to a guy I had been dating for seven months, and am still with. I thought I was the last person who would have to make such a decision, but I was ignorant. We both underesitmated the fertility of people our age! We cut corners with birth control, and I got pregnant. There was no way I was going to have a baby. Here I was trying to balance going to college and working almost full time, so there was no way I could raise a kid, let alone handling nine months of being pregnant while trying to work and go to school. Being pregnant is NOT FUN, especially if you don't have a wanted baby to look forward to at the end of it. Also I didn't want to be responsible for yet another unwanted baby up for adoption.

Getting pregnant was a huge mistake, but for me the abortion was the right thing to do. I learned my lesson and am now on birth control and am VERY careful to make sure it doesn't happen again! I hate how people say abortion can be used for birth control. They obviously don't know what it's like at all. For one thing, it's expensive, it's also painful (not the actual procedure, but the soreness afterwards), and you still have to go through the early pregnancy morning sickness (which for me lasted all day). Not to mention any guilt or regret. Nope, buying a pack of birth control pills or some condoms is SO MUCH EASIER. That arguement is just absurd.

I think abortion is definately not a good thing, but it should be an option. Especially in a country where kids get hardly any education on safe sex in school (mostly all I got was "just don't do it"). People are going to have sex, so you have to teach them how to do it safely and responsibly. I think that would prevent a lot of unwanted pregnancies. However, we all make mistakes, and there is no such thing as a completely foolproof birth control method, so I think abortion should always be an option.

Blessings All, I Will Not Talk About Abortion. For I Have No... Mar 28th. at 2:56:09 pm EST

Riki Crosado (Christchurch, New Zealand) Age: 34 - Email

Blessings all, I will not talk about Abortion. For I have no personal experiance thier. I will talk about Euthanasia, for a friend of mine is dying of Aids. Here in New Zealand, aid is not a big thing. Every now and then a fund riser is started and a bit of public info go out. The last time I saw my friend he was having trouble walking, and was in a lot of pain. I enjoyed his company. But for me to ask him to stay around would be unkind. I think that if he wished to leave us a week or two sooner, and on his terms. I will not stop him. I will fight for his right to deside for him self. I think he will be happy in the summerland, It does not matter if he is a bit early.

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