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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| In General, I Consider Abortion And Euthanasia To Be Morally Repugnant. In... ||Mar 29th. at 1:09:04 pm EST|
|Richard Gant (Northern Kentucky University, Kentucky US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
In general, I consider abortion and euthanasia to be morally repugnant. In too many cases, it seems that they are used as options by individuals who do not wish to be "inconvenienced". (Please note that I used "many", not "most" or "all"; I am aware that there are exceptions to everything.) There are certainly circumstances (in my opinion) in which abortion or euthanasia could be considered legitimate options (for instance, if it is necessary to save the mother's life or when there is no hope of recovery), but even then the decision should not be made lightly.Suicide is, to my mind, an extreme symptom of a greater problem. As with euthanasia, there may be times when it is acceptable, but it not a step that should be taken lightly.The question of society's right to regulate euthanasia, suicide, and abortion is interesting. Although personal liberty is important (particularly to Americans, where "personal liberty" is an ideal guarded with fanatical zeal), government (of any type) has always reserved the right to restrict or even eliminate particular freedoms. With this in mind, I would say that the government (which, in the United States, is more or less directed by society) does indeed have the legal right to regulate abortion, suicide, euthanasia, murder, skipping, or anything else. Whether or not it has the will and the *moral* right to do so is another matter, and will only be decided by the voice of the people.
| We Simply Do Not Know When Physical Life Truly Begins, Or When... ||Mar 29th. at 7:09:17 pm EST|
|Ivy Greenwood (Simi Valley, California US) ||Age: 44 - Email |
We simply do not know when physical life truly begins, or when it truly ends, and it is this lack of certain knowledge which makes discussion of these subjects so uncomfortable. Is fertilization the instant onset of life? Does death truly occur the second that brain activity ceases? We may claim that we know, but no one---not the doctor, not the priestess, not the minister, not the protester on either side of the line---really knows for sure. These issues deal directly with human mortality and our perceptions thereof--- perceptions which are as endlessly varied and intensely personal as our individual perceptions of Deity. All we truly have in dealing with these subjects are our individual beliefs, our individual feelings, and, if we are wise, the knowledge that no one else in the entire world feels or believes the EXACT same thing that we do.
I am glad, personally, that I have never had to seriously consider having an abortion. I have some background in biology---I know that, even if what is aborted is not technically alive, it is potentially human and has the potential to be alive at some point. For this reason, it is not a choice I would ever want to have to make. But there are circumstances under which I would be first in line when the clinic doors open. No woman should be forced to bear a child she does not want or cannot safely carry.
I believe euthanasia is an option for someone who is terminally injured or ill. I see no sense in trying to keep an empty husk animated---that is utterly indecent. There comes a time in the progress of terminal disease, in particular, when letting a sufferer pass on is an act of love and mercy. I know that for myself, I do not want to be dragged back into a crippled, pain-racked body when I am trying to escape it. If I am at the point where I am too debilitated to leave on my own, I would really appreciate someone else helping me make that escape.
I have very mixed feelings about suicide, having dealt with depression for many years and having contemplated suicide on a few occasions. When I am not depressed, it is something I would never consider. When I AM depressed, I KNOW I am depressed (these days I do, anyway) and I know where the suicidal thoughts are coming from. I cannot say that, for myself, it would be right to commit suicide, because I know it is not what I would normally want to do IF I WERE NOT IN A DEPRESSION CYCLE. On the other hand, if I were terminally ill, I would want the right to choose when my life should end. Then no one would be responsible for my death but I, myself.
These are my beliefs, my feelings. I am aware that some of them may seem perhaps a little illogical to others, but feelings tend to be that way. As I've said, none of us know the real answers to these issues. Our feelings---and respect for the feelings and beliefs of others---are really all we have to
| Abortion.... I Believe That Life Begins At Conception, But I Also Understand... ||Mar 29th. at 7:32:55 pm EST|
|Ember (Salisbury, Maryland US) ||Age: 23 - Email |
I believe that life begins at conception, but I also understand that this is my BELIEF not a fact, therefore I am Pro-Choice. I feel that all pregnacies should be wanted, and that with our modern birth control choices, abortion shouldn't be as much as an issue as it is, unfortunatly those apposed to abortion are often opposed to birth control as well... This is just plain idiotic to me! I feel that Parnent-hood is a serious decision and if you don't want to ever be a parent, please take the necessary steps not to become one because
A) Children need dedicated parents
B) we are very over populated as it is....
We put our sick animals to sleep when we can't cure them, why can't we chose to put our selves to sleep when we are terminaly ill? Both my Grandfather and Grandmother died of cancer, and I wish they had the OPTION to think about Euthanasia instead of the pain and suffering they endured, not to mention the difficult job my mother and stepfather had in caring for Mom mom and Grandpa. It was very hard on them to see their mom and dad suffer.
Over all, I feel that suicide is a personal choice, though a stupid one. We have challenges and lessons to learn in this life, and we don't escape that by commiting suicide. We will have the same issues in the next life. It also causes alot of pain and suffering for the family and even the comunity at large, as demonstrated as Tempest's death. I have many friends who were once suicidal and they either got profesional help or had close family and friends who steped in. Then there was my friend Terese. She was Bi-polar and we didn't even know it until her death. She shot herself, but before she did, she called my mother very late at night asking her if she knew how to unload a gun. My mom told her to call the police for help because she didn't know. If we had known she was bi-polar we would have had a much differnt responce and maybe she would be alive today. IF you have problems, Please tell someone! Your family loves you, the Goddess loves you, and heck I love you!
| I Believe Very Strongly In Abortion And Euthenasia Very Strongly. There Is... ||Mar 29th. at 10:08:14 pm EST|
|Willow Aurora (Chicago, Illinois US) ||Age: 16 |
I believe very strongly in abortion and euthenasia very strongly. There is no shame or "wrongness" about taking one's own life- after all, if we do not own our deaths, we don't really own our lives either. If a person is in irreversible pain, then there is no reason whatsoever to force them to live. Do we as a people condone torture? When life becomes torture, therefore, it is merciful and beautiful to end it. This societal fear of death is really the driving force behind all the anti-euthenasia... if we could only realize how beautiful all the pieces of life are, including death, this would not be such an issue. As for abortion, I think that it is far better for the life of the child as well as the mother. Many people who have abortions cannot support a child- the baby would grow up impoverished, be a strain on the community, quite possibly resort to drugs and criminal activity, or even be subjected to an abusive household. What really bothers me about pro-lifers, however, is this: I do understand the point of view. I see where they are coming from, and I applaud their resolve in their beliefs. However, it is under no circumstances morally right to take rights away from another person. A person may feel it is wrong to have an abortion; fine. She shouldn't have an abortion. However, it is imperative for her to respect the beliefs of others who wish to have abortions, and not try to deny them this right.
It really comes down to this; living is not existing. Nobody should have existance forced upon them when they can no longer really live. It is our choice, our basic right, as individual human beings, to control that. No societal law can regulate these highly personal situations.
| My Opinion Deals Strictly With Abortion, Mainly Because I Recently Had One... ||Mar 29th. at 10:59:06 pm EST|
|Arabian Wind (Grosse Ile, Michigan US) ||Age: 16 - Email |
My opinion deals strictly with abortion, mainly because I recently had one. I do believe that it's the individual's right to choose, and that early term abortions (12 weeks or younger) should not be restricted by the government. However, the two-day "waiting period" rule should be more strictly enforced, because in most cases, it isn't, and decisions are made in haste or panic that are later regretted. Also, I personally have a problem with later term abortion. After 12 weeks, the fetus has essentially a fully functional nervous system. That, to me, constitutes life, and I believe that taking a life is wrong. Before 12 weeks though, there is no life, only the potential for life. So up until 12 weeks, society should have no say, other than "Wait a few days and make sure this is what you really want". After that, unless there is a serious medical concern, I don't think abortion should be allowed. 12 weeks, the line between life and it's potential, is where the line should be drawn.
| Having Been In The Shoes Of Two Of The Above Topics, I... ||Mar 29th. at 11:08:39 pm EST|
|Someone (Charlotte, North Carolina US) ||Age: 17 |
Having been in the shoes of two of the above topics, I feel compelled to respond. As a young teenager and even today, I dealt with depression. I thought very seriously about whether I wanted to end my life or not. It seemed like the way to make it easier on everyone at the time. When the clock struck midnight on my fifteenth birthday, I was in the emergency room of the hostpital because I attempted to kill myself through overdose of Tylenol. I told everyone that I simply wanted to get rid of a migraine that wouldn't go away but now I wish I had told them the truth and gotten the help I needed. I now value my life more than that and know that suicide isn't the way out for me. I found things in my life that are worth living for and found that I actually had a future. I can understand why some people would want to do that and I don't think really that we have a right to judge people. Afterall, it's your life, why should someone else decide for you what to do with it or not? It's not like you're killing someone else against their wishes.
As per abortion, the other topic I wish to address... I have had another personal experience with this one. I was in a serious relationship (which I am still in) and we were fairly active. But, as I was in my late teens and not out on my own yet, I had no idea that you could get birth control (other than condoms) without your parent's permission in my state. They don't exactly tell you those things when their goal is to keep you from having sex. I wish teenagers were taught about Planned Parenthood. What a wonderful organization! But anyway, the same month that we were looking into Planned Parenthood, we found out that we were pregnant. We both recognized that this would be a terrible thing to come to pass- we couldn't support a child. We wouldn't even be able to devote ourselves to it and provide it with all the love it needed, either. He is agnostic and I am now an atheist. We didn't believe that it was a child yet until it at least had brain waves and a heart beat.
The thing, though, is not whether or not it really technically is a child or not. It's that no one can really say when it is a human being, no one can say with any certainty that they know when the child has a soul or what have you. If you want to say that you're killing human potential, consider if you will birth control. All those eggs and all that sperm gets killed as a result of birth control and will never be a child. Besides, do you want a child to grow up in a dysfunctional family where it is constantly in need? Adoption, in my opinion, is a psychologically damaging thing, as is growing up in a broken home. There is no other option.
I talked to another woman while I was there in the clinic. She was in her late thirties and this would be her fourth pregnancy. She had three sons, one my age. Recently she had been separated from her husband and could barely support herself and her three children. Her decision was based on the fact that she could not allow more in her life, as much as she loved children. She felt the generation gap too large and the medical risk too high. It is not just teenagers that have to make this decision, but older women as well. I had forgotten them.
Another argument people have presented is that you shouldn't be having sex if you can't support a child. If this were true, many would remain virgins until their late twenties. It's a terrible thing to deny people such a wonderful thing because of a tiny percentage. Birth control itself is not 100% effective. The Depo Provera shot and the Pill both have below 2-1% failure rates. It's still possible for it to happen whether you like it or not. You shouldn't have to hamper your lifestyle because there's a possibility that you'd be the one in a thousand women.
For the record, the ultrasound before the abortion did not show a heart beat or brainwaves. Those generally are not strong and apparent until the second trimester when abortions begin to be performed only when it endangers the mother's life.
| As A Teacher Of The Craft, That Stresses That Self Responsablity Is... ||Mar 30th. at 6:29:35 am EST|
|Kundra (Rebecker Mackness (Perth, Western Australia AU) ||Age: 29 - Email |
As a teacher of the craft, that stresses that Self responsablity is a major guide line to follow, I believe that all of the above is a Personal choice, but with one condition... the person must be of a healthy mind state when making the decision (by this i mean they are not suffering deep depression etc). I have personally experienced the wanting to end my life and counselling others durring their time of choice. How can we expect people to take responsabilty for their every day actions if we try to take way the most basic right to choose what they do with their bodies. Just my 2 cents worth.
| I Believe That All Three Of These Topics Fall Into The Gray... ||Mar 30th. at 11:25:37 am EST|
|A face in the crowd (Reading, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 31 - Email |
I believe that all three of these topics fall into the gray area. There is no clear right or wrong answer. I do not believe that abortion is a good choice. But yet I had one when I was a very young teenager. Having a child at that point in my life would have ruined my life and affected many other lives. Now that I have two beautiful children I wonder how I possibly could have done it. But on the other hand I wouldn't have my husband and children if I would have been a mother at 14. Did I do the right thing? I'll always believe that I did, but I will always regret it as well.
Suicide is not something I can understand. I have endured abortion and the death of my father and grandfather all before I was 15. Yet I never seriously thought about killing myself. As painfull as any situation may be, life goes on. Some of the hardest lessons in life are painful, but I believe they are some of the most important ones as well. And the biggest lesson of all is that there is always hope.
Ethanasia is something I strongly support. I can see no purpose to prolonging human suffering when there is no hope of recovery. When your body becomes a prison it is time to set yourself free.
I believe that all three of these topics should be the choice of the individual. What is right for one may not be right for another.
Blessings to all.
| Abortion, Suicide, And Euthanasia. Wow. Let Me Start With A Disclaimer. Obviously... ||Mar 30th. at 4:34:25 pm EST|
|mik63033 (ferguson, Missouri US) ||Age: 40 - Email |
Abortion, suicide, and euthanasia. Wow. Let me start with a disclaimer. Obviously, these are 3 of the biggest buzzsaw-to-the-nerve words around. So, by their very nature (along with the first or second-hand experience some have had in these matters), i could be sprinkling salt into wounds. If this is the case, please know that's not my wish or intention. These are just my values that reside in the core of my spirit.
I could sum these up with live and let live - literally - with the emphasis on live. Now i'm going to seemingly contradict myself. I always have been and always will be pro-choice. That is i am for my or any other woman's right to choose abortion. As much as i love animals, i distinguish myself from cows for instance, because they have no choice in their reproduction. Besides, i'm one of those poetical types who actually believes life begins at birth. (for our purposes anyway) I think we have limited resources and limited foresight in would-be parents who have no business being parents. (i know i have no business being a parent) I'm not saying these people should not be allowed to have children, by the same token though, i shouldn't be forced to, and i'm getting real nervous about the supreme court situation. Prior to the recent selection err...election, Susan Sarandon was on "Queen Latifah" plugging Ralph Nader. A young woman who couldn't have been more than 16 got up and asked her if she wasn't concerned about who would pick the next Supreme Court appointee and she condescendingly replied "..you don't have too much faith in your sisters then." Phyllis Shlafly would be proud. And Susan Sarandon's annoying. I'm digressing i know, but i do feel a lot lighter and springier.
As a Wiccan i believe in reincarnation. We choose each present incarnation to experience, learn, or work through what we haven't in our past lives. At a certain point then are we to dwell with the Goddess and the God. If you take your life, you're cutting your studytime short and will only have more homework. Not the most pleasant scenario. All my life i have been against suicide. This might sound really trite, self-righteous, and arrogant, but i just don't believe in giving up. Or in. I truly believe that that which doesn't kill us can make us stronger. Given time and reflection. Either private or professional. And there's the selfishness of the act. Sometimes even anger directed at the ones closest to the person, or who're suppossed to be closest to the person. I can't help thinking that when my brother's friend hung himself in the family basement on Mother's Day, it was no coincidence. The Goddess granted us these lives. I don't know what causes a person to lose all interest in their claim to them and to lose all hope. Because i have been depressed (not chemically) I have been lonely. I have been fed up. But a basic instinct to survive has always been there. And i hope it always will.
This last one, euthanasia - to me is the worst. I believe in making every effort to sustain life. I realize it has become a popular movement with it's own P.C. slogan: "quality of life". That little phrase has so many meanings and is so subjective i'm not even gonna touch it. I personally don't think "Pulling the Plug" should be an option. We're not talking toasters. And we're not talking about "vegetables" either. And about the so-called brain-dead. I personally know plenty of people walking around who would for all intents and purposes fit that description. Can i then do the "humane" thing? Again the little feel-good phrase "quality of life" tends to pop up when someone has been diagnosed "brain-dead". But how can anyone know for sure what it's like unless they're in that skin? I honestly feel it's way too easy to pull the plug. It puts me in mind of some terrifying futuristic novel. And who really decides? Loved ones? Numbercrunchers? Loved ones who are numbercrunchers? Of course all those people getting Tempest's organs is a beautiful thing, and to those who've been faced with this nightmarish decision i again apologize if my words are coming off as judgemental or too harsh. I wouldn't be true to myself though if i automatically went along with the crowd. I realize i'm probably a minority of one. (i havn't read the other posts yet) These are just my beliefs and opinions, and there's just something about it that gos against my grain. For instance, what about the comatose who were written off only to mystify the "experts" when they awoke? There are those who ask about any pain. This might sound harsh again, but life is full of pain. And besides, what about painkillers or other ways to alleviate any possible pain? I personally, would rather take a chance of someone being in pain than play Goddess, and i certainly wouldn't want someone disconnecting my life-support. There's always going to be the spectre of cost rearing it's ugly head. Well, if we have enough in the budget for our "Defense" Dept...Where can we hospitalize them all? I understand there's going to be a lot of former wilderness land in Alaska going for cheap. Seriously though, i can't help thinking there's got to somehow be an alternative somewhere. All i know is Grandma Crone will come for us when she sees fit. As far as i'm concerned, She can take her time. And i pray Goddess i never have to be responsible for that decision.
Now that i've probably completely offended a lot of people, and have taken up WAY too much space, i'd like to stress my intention here was not to harm, just to express. My College Composition teacher told me i have a "colloqial" style. Maybe that's a euphamism. Again i'd like to thank this site for letting me express things that are very near and dear to me. Do me (and probably the readers) a favor and stop with the meaningful subject matter already, or i'll be compelled to put my 2 cents in again! I got it - next week's question: Should Britney go Backstreet or stay 'Nsync without Christina? Should we care?
Love and Brightest Blessings
| I Believe That These Decisions Are Individual Ones. I Know That If... ||Mar 30th. at 5:58:11 pm EST|
|Silver (Calgary, Alberta CA) ||Age: 20 |
I believe that these decisions are individual ones. I know that if I needed or were to choose one of these options for myself at one time or another during my life, I would not want to have to worry about what the bueracracy (sp?) was going to do, and whether or not they were illegal. I am very much pro-choice, I believe that it is a woman's choice whether or not to have an abortion, a person's choice whether or not to commit suicide, or for the terminally ill to use euthanasia to end their pain and suffering. Though I would be saddened by someone's choice to commit suicide or euthanasia, I would also respect their choice. Brightest blessings, Silver.
| Abortion Is Legal, And As It Should Be." That's From My Friend... ||Mar 30th. at 7:46:14 pm EST|
|pat james "haven't thought of a clever name STILL" mannix (lancaster , Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 16 - Email |
"Abortion is legal, and as it should be." That's from my friend, Razz, and it's the smartest thing he's ever said (in that it's the only smart thing he's ever said.) I will begin with something that I notoriously post on abortion discussion boards-- It has been documented that a child's aura appears upon their first breath- just something I thought some of you might find thought provoking. Not everyone believes in auras, though. (In fact, one imbecile once told me that she would believe in auras when she read about them in the Bible. I doubt the Bible mentions the hole in the ozone, but it's there, though most Christian fundamentalists are Republicans and as such, do not believe in environmental crises anyway.)
No one can prove that at any point prior to birth that a fetus is a soulful being. Anti-choicers can wait as long as they want, but I don't expect fetuses to start speaking up. The mother? Well, it makes no difference to some people whether she is happy, even alive. But can anyone tell a womyn that she possesses no soul? Of course not (unless the person does not accept the existence of souls, and would then not believe the fetus to possess one anyhow.) Sic, why should a being of arguable soulfulness' life be threatened because of what cannot be proven to be more than a mass of flesh? Oh, and the Celts that we owe our very spirituality to were very pro-choice.
Suicide? Again, I'm "pro-choice." I guess most anarchists are
"pro-choice" on a lot of issues, hmm? Indeed, you have control over your life only when you have control over your death. Keep in mind that your body is here to do the Goddess' work, though. There. By the way, are we all depressive, ex-suicicidals on here?
Euthanasia? Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Not wrong. Life imprisonment? No, thank you. But that's just me (or for grammatical sake, that's just I.) People should really think about whether or not they want their children pulling the plug.
| Abortion, Euthanasia, And Suicide...quite A Combination For One Post. But A... ||Mar 30th. at 10:24:44 pm EST|
|Artemis13 (Seacoast, New Hampshire US) ||Age: 36 |
Abortion, euthanasia, and suicide...quite a combination for one post. But a combination that I understand.
At one time or another, I have faced and/or seen all of these decisions, both for and against. In my late teens and early twenties, I knew of, and consoled, many young women faced with choosing to terminate their pregnancies. One young woman chose not to have her child, the result of a rape that took her virginity. She said that her mother dropped out of school to have her and her mother wanted her life to be worth something. Another friend dropped out of school to have her child, believing that having a family would make her complete; she then needed to move away from the area to escape a boyfriend (the father) who was beating her. Both women made a choice that was best one they could make for that point in their lives. I do not believe that I, or you, have the right to force them to make a choice that they are not prepared, or equipped, to deal with. Like a pebble thrown in the water, the choice to have or not have a child impacts not only the mother and the child, but all members of their family and community. Until the time arises where all women can support themselves, all children are wanted and accepted by society, and those who already exist in this world are considered valuable, women must, at the very least, have control of their bodies.
Euthanasia is another concept that Western society has a hard time grasping. Perhaps it is because of the Christian dominance in our country that makes the subject so repulsive to many. But to see this issue clearly, it would help to see the issue through the eyes of someone who faces the choice. For four years I watched my beloved uncle waste away in a nursing home. In the blink of an eye, a vibrant 89 year old man, who worked to help elderly "shut-ins", had a stroke that briefly terminated his life. The EMT's who worked to save him never realized the terms of his living will. He was brought back to life, but at a heavy cost; paralyzed, unable to speak or move, he signed and "asked" us to end his life. In agony we watched him slowly die for four years until the fluid in his lungs suffocated him. Even though I am young, my own disease is considered "terminal" by my insurance company and I live each day knowing that if I did not take my medication, I would be dead in about five days. Do I want to know that my life can be ended if the complications take over? You better believe it. Quality of my life is more than some abstraction to be mulled over and discussed in a forum. I have lived my life on my terms, with as much dignity as I can hold for myself and others who love me. For anyone who believes they can tell me otherwise, well, frankly, I don't give a damn.
Which brings us to our final subject, that of suicide. The thought crossed my mind once or twice when faced with what I felt was a never-ending pit of despair but I decided I couldn't cheat myself out of my life. As Fate would have it, my profession as a counselor brought me into contact with many of the darker feelings and emotions that many other people do not wish to face. I have heard the stories and feelings of others, including depression, anxiety, pain, and suffering as we people struggle to heal. I have been relieved and elated when clients move beyond the need for suicide and heal themselves. I have also cried in sorrow for a client who couldn't. Yet one thing I have tried to remember was that the choice to live and the choice to die is one that each of us would see differently. I would do everything in my power to convince someone of the different options other than suicide, but I have had to accept that I am not the one in control of another person's life. I feel that to accept other people's choices is the best way to ensure my own.
I live the Goddess as a part of myself and believe in Her that the choices I make will be the best ones for me. But just because it's best for me, doesn't mean it's best for you.
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