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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: 23,458,560  

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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 

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.

Hello, I Am A 15 Year Old Male That Has Some Strong... Mar 31st. at 1:51:29 am EST

Silver Dragonfly (Sedalia, Missouri US) Age: 15 - Email

Hello, I am a 15 year old male that has some strong opinions on all of these issuses (and please excuse my spelling I have problems with it and always have). Ill start with my views on Abortion, I believe that it is ok some times, these times are Rape, inability to support the child and abortion is not an option for what ever reason, if you are in a abuseve relation ship (you should get out if you are but if you are...) and the child will be abused, and lastly falls into that of the rape, incest hopefully by accadent or rape.

Ok now for Euthanasia, I think it is ok as long as you have thought about it and have talked to a psycholigest (once again please ignore my spelling) and spoke about it with your family. i know that if i were dieing painfuly and slowly and there was no doubt that i was to die i would have it done.

And lastly Suicide, i feel that if you felt you had no other way out and you could not talk to anyone and things were really that bad you can do it, but i am going to give you some advice on how to do it (well not exactly how to do it but you will see what i mean) KEEP IT guns, no knives, if you are going to do it do it do it clean i dont care how but keep it clean, think of the person that will find you, make it less tramatic for them, would you rather walk in on a body or a bloody mess? i know that was graphic but you get what i mean. i have thoguht about and almost committed suicide but i am proud to say that i dont have the "guts", or maby somehow i know that im here for some higher pourpse. i have been told that by a few psychics that i trust in.

For all 3 of the above reasons i am not a popular kid at school, this used to boher me but Wicca has tought me to say "heck with what others think" and to do what i think is right as well as say what i think and dont be asshamed of yourself. i yet again appoligise for my spelling. and if you wish to speek with me about anything please E-Mail me or if you have yahoo add me to your Friends list so that we can chat about it (put "Saw your reply at" or something like that so that i know who you are in a way)

"May the Goddess light your way on the path of Life" ~Silver Dragonfly

MP and BB
Silver Dragonfly

Suicide Is A Person Making Their Own Decision About Their Life Without... Mar 31st. at 2:11:18 am EST

IvyDancing (West Palm Beach, Florida US) Age: 49 - Email

Suicide is a person making their own decision about their life without direct physical affect upon another. It's OK in my opinion. Abortion during the first trimester, before a spirit has inhabited the foetus, is probably OK too. Second and third trimester abortions are probably wrong. Euthanasia is wrong. But not using extreme measures to prolong life like breathing machines, etc., is OK, provided the wishes of the person are being followed. Physical life is a gift of the Gods. We shouldn't waste a moment of it. But once it's over, it's time for the spirit to move on.

Abortion (imho) Is A Far Separate Issue From Euthanasia & Suicide, And I... Mar 31st. at 4:04:20 am EST

Nion (Tacoma, Washington US) Age: 41

Abortion (IMHO) is a far separate issue from euthanasia & suicide, and I will address it as such. I must make a stand on the side of "CHOICE" where legal regulation must be involved and I believe the over-riding public health concern should be in making abortion both less desirable and less necessary. This end can only be accomplished through proper reproductive (note I don't call it 'sex') education with full knowledge and availability of preventive tools and techniques and alternatives such as good maternal health care and access to adoption without stigma. I cannot take seriously any anti-abortion argument that declines to first address these issues before attempting to further restrict and stigmatize women of childbearing capacity.

Euthanasia and suicide have some vague overlaps. My being a nurse who works in extended care w/the elderly and chronically ill, as well as having worked in a psychiatric hospital gives me a view of both.

I find myself much more concerned over euthanasia and end of life issues.
Euthanasia is far from a one point issue, and tends to be a hot-button word, automatically associated with so-called "mercy killing".

The actual meaning comes from two words in Greek: "EU" meaning well or good and "THANOS" meaning death. Properly addressing the needs and comfort of those facing the end of life may eliminate much percieved need for active Euthanasia a la the Hemlock Society. I find myself believing more and more that any person who purports the Wiccan Rede or other similar statement, needs to look at the business of end-life through the lens of the Rede. Too often I see individuals and families agonizing through making decisions that the individual should have already put into some written form. CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation)and Life-support are the first two, and they are quite separate issues from both medical and legal standpoints. To _harm_none_, it is vital to address in the case of an individual seeking "Eu Thanos" or "Good Death".

The third thing to address is adequate pain relief. People in severe pain don't much care to eat & drink adequately, and can't properly rest. These combine to make the person more uncomfortable and exacerbates the problem in a downward spiral of misery. Modern medicine is revamping it's standards on pain treatment and there has been at least one successful malpractice suit for
under-treatment of pain in a terminal individual of which I am aware.
If you are a decision maker for anyone in end-life, _harm_none_ and ensure they recieve adequate treatment.

On Abortion, I Can Only Say That It A Purly Individual Choice... Mar 31st. at 9:50:39 am EST

Moonhawk Elfchild (Owego, New York US) Age: 46 - Email

On abortion, I can only say that it a purly individual choice. I don't think that it can, or should be regulated in any way. I don't like the thought of it being used as a form of birth control, there are simpler and less painful ways, and also think that both parties should be involved, unless the situation dictates otherwise. Euthinasia, also, is a peraonal choice. Each of us should be able to determine when the pain of illness becomes to much to bear. I, myself have a no execptional measure clause in a living will. If I'm going to die anyway, let me do so with dignity and honor.
Suicide is a bit more complicated. It is the final act of desperation. Many who contemplate suicide are being self-centered, whether they realize it or not, and never take into consideration the pain, doubt, and lingering questions they leave behind as a legacy to everyone who loves them. I have had a friend commit suicide and, even though it happened many years ago, my thoughts are still haunted by the pain and unanswered questions. There is also a measure of personal guilt that never goes away. With all of the help that is readily available, it should be preventable. I truely wish that those who contmplate suicide would first seek the help they need.

Abortion Is Something Only The Person Carring The Fetus Can Decide On... Mar 31st. at 2:59:06 pm EST

Rev. Ruby Mann (Jackson, Michigan US) Age: 54 - Email

Abortion is something only the person carring the fetus can decide on. I think every woman should have that right to decide. They should be legal and those that have an abortion should have counseling suggested to them to cope with the situation.

Euthanasia: I would like to die with dignity. If this must happen via a drug overdose given me by my doctor or loved ones so be it. I do not consider it murder but do consider making a person reamin "alive" while in pain and suffering to be curel and unhumane punishment. This would have to be a decision made before the need arisies while the patient is in a good mental state.

Suicide: this subject is difficult for me because I have seen the effects of a teen suicide on his family and friends. Done in a fit of anger or deep depression, it must be the only way the person can see to escape from his/her problems. Not realizing how many problems they are creating for those they leave behind with no answers to the questions. it should not be a spiritual matter, rather a medical or psychological one.

The first thing that always comes to my mind is "cowards way out". Could they not try to find the answers to their problems in another way? What drives them to destroy themselves? Are they cowards or heros? I have so many questions when it comes to suicide.

I Do Not Believe That Euthanasia Or Suicide Is Proper Or Ethical... Mar 31st. at 6:32:13 pm EST

Ron Parker (Independence, Missouri US) Age: 41 - Email

I do not believe that Euthanasia or Suicide is proper or ethical. Life is a rare gift given by the Gods and should be treated as such. As far as Abortion, I do not believe in the use of it as a form of birth control. However, the ultimate discision on abortion is and should be left to the woman as it is her body.

These Are Tricky Issues. I've Dealt With All Three On A Personal... Mar 31st. at 7:32:19 pm EST

Wendy B. (Shreveport, Louisiana US) Age: 33

These are tricky issues. I've dealt with all three on a personal level, and so have given them considerable thought. My husand is a psychiatrist, so I usually think of suicide as something that issues from mental illness and should be prevented, except in the case of a person who has a terminal illness and is choosing to die with dignity while s/he is still capable of doing the job without dragging in a helper (which seems to me to be a weak and selfish thing to do to a loved-one -- ask them to kill you, that is). Euthanasia I think should be avoided, except insofar as it can be accomplished simply by withholding extreme care. I think starving or dehydrating a person who is still drawing breath on their own is cruel. We don't know what they might experience, so unless their wishes were made clear while they were of sound mind, I don't think we have the right to make that decision for them. And abortion is the hardest: it's by grace, not virtue, that I never had to make that choice, and I am ever thankful that I never did. I don't think I could live with myself having terminated my own offspring. Yet there are certainly cases where I can imagine being thankful for having the choice to do it safely.

Well I'm A Guy So I Don't Think I Can't Say That... Mar 31st. at 8:15:39 pm EST

Jerry (Kalamazoo, Michigan US) Age: 17 - Email

Well I'm a guy so i don't think i can't say that much on the abortion issue. That is somthing that the woman will have to live with for the rest of their lives. I think that women should have the right to choose what they want going on their bodies but I will never have to feel what ever it is a woman feels over abortion. As far as suicide goes, I personaly think that it is up to the person. No one has the right to tell anyone when and if they can die by their own hands. It is not for society to decide.

Suicide And Euthanasia (i Think) Should Be Avoided Except For The Extreme... Mar 31st. at 8:21:34 pm EST

Jenny (Eastlake, Ohio US) Age: 17

Suicide and Euthanasia (I think) should be avoided except for the extreme cases of suffering with a terminal illness or the like. Abortion is a bit different though. I know that many abortions take place because of the irresposibility of a person or a couple, and that is wrong. When there are so many ways to prevent pregnancy (i.e.- Birth control, condoms, the morning-after pill) it is sad to know that many people do not use them. Yet there are situations where a condom broke, a girl was raped, etc. where abortion is an important choice. I feel that abortion is a personal, private choice that should not be taken away. I would rather see abortion legal for all (including those who abuse life selfishly) than to see abortion banned for all (including those with uncontrolably, unfortunate circumstances) Personally, I hope that I will never have to face the possibility of abortion, but, if I had to, I would like to have that option open to me anyway.

I'll Start With The Easiest, Abortion. Woman's Body, Woman's Choice. If You... Mar 31st. at 11:07:13 pm EST

kaelyn Traveler (Sacramento, California US) Age: 35 - Email

I'll start with the easiest, Abortion. Woman's body, woman's choice. If you don't want one, don't have one. If we want to reduce the number of abortions in this country, we need better reproductive education. The 2 countries in the world with the lowest percentage of teen pregnancies are Canada, and Holland, @ 6% and 9% respectively. These figures include young women who marry at 18 and have babies before 20. Guess what, both countries begin reproductive education at age 6. My mother did with me, and I've always had a very strong image that I had better make sure I can deal with a child before taking the risk of becoming pregnant. Yet even the best birth control sometimes fails, and we must have the right to control our own bodies. I believe that someone being able to force you to carry and bear a child you don't want, even for the "altruistic" purpose of giving it to someone who wants it, is nothing short of slavery. Slavery was outlawed by the 13Th amendment. This actually happened to a girl I went to school with, at fifteen years old. The father's parents actualy took her & her mother to court to get an injunction against abortion. They won. This fifteen year old, very petite girl was forced to carry a bear a child she did not want.

Euthanasia: There are sound arguments on both sides. I must side with individual choice, but if the person's capacity is in question, the only people there are left to ask are the relatives. Unfortunately, families don't necessarily follow your wishes. Whether it's motivated by greed, fear, misunderstanding, or the sheer arrogance of "knowing what's best for you" it makes life very difficult for everyone involved. Most nursing homes and assisted living facilities now require that you make a living will that gives very clear instructions on what to do, what not to do, and under what circumstances in an emergencey situaion. They want this done by the prospective patient rather than their relatives if at all possible. Many patients' fodlers have DNR (do not rescuitate) in bright red.

Suicide: For me, from harrowing personal experience, these two go hand in hand. Please pardon the length I'm about to go to. I dated a man who had a history of mental illness. Depression ran heavy on both sides of his family, as did the substance abuse that often goes with it. A person in this much emotional pain will do almost anything to disguise and esacape it, even when they know it's bad for them. He never recieved medication until his 3rd suicide attempt when some bright psychiatrist ordered a simple blood test. Mind you, this blod test had been around for 25 years. Why no one ran it before is a mystery. The blood test showed some very easily correctable chemical imbalances. He went on a class of medications called tricyclics. These have been around since the 30's, we understand them pretty well. He was clean, sober, and much happier. Suicide was as far from his mindset as it could get.

80% of suicides suffer from some form of mental illness. Some is temporary, like what many of us experience during puberty and early adolescence, some of it is directly related to deep personal loss, others to onging brain chemisrty imbalances, but much of it is treatable.

Back to the story. He felt ill at work one day went to see the nurse. She took his pulse and had him airlifted to the closest hospital. It was 240/minute. For the three hours they tried to get it down. It could easily have killed him. In the end, they had to cardiovert him. (electric shock paddles) What happened? He has a conductive heart defect no one knew about. Tricyclics have cardiac side effects, he takes them again, he's dead. At this time prozac was being prescribed left & right, everybody called it a wonder drug. It didn't work as well as the tricyclics, but it wouldn't kill him either. It kept him funtional and reasonably happy. At this point I met him. He had 4 years clean and sober, everything looked great, and he told me about his past. What science was just finding out, is that the brain has at least 4 separate ways of compensating for altered chemistry of the long life drugs like prozac. After a while they just slowly stop working. The brain doesn't compensate for tricyclics, because the half life is too short. Unfortunately, his effective time with prozac was ending. The problem is, we didn't know it.

He lost his mother, grandmother, and best dog in a 4 month period of time. That's enough to depress anybody. This is where the family motives issue ones in. The grandmother was a fighter. Fought cancer every inch of the way for 15 years. The mother was not. She made everyone in the family PROMISE her that when her time came, they would not let her drag out in pain and misery. The hospital finally sent her home to die, and assured the family that it would be quick, easy, and painless. It wasn't. When she was finally close, they cut her feed rate in half, and dragged her pain and suffering out for another 4 days. The doctor's comment when asked why he did this? "I'm not Kevorikian". Certain members of her family stayed right at her bedside, doing their best to hold her there, to get her to fight, in spite of their earlier promises to her. The woman was in serious pain, morphine had little effect, and no one had the courage to do what they had promised her. She only asked that there be no heroics, once I can no longer see, speak or express my wants clearly, or I go into coma, pull the plug. No one helped her. Had she been capable, she sould have ended her own life. My boyfriend and I were appalled at the way the family handled her requests for treatment, and its cessation, and as soon as we came home, we wrote out living wills, and powers of attorney on each other & registered them with the state. We knew his family would not honor his wishes. By now his depression was in full swing. He had 3 suicide attempts in 4 months. I was the only person he could talk to. The emotinal pain he was in was unreal, yet he was terrified of Death. He didn't so much want to die, as to stop the enormous amount of emotional pain. If stopping the pain meant he died, that was fine with him. His family refused to understand. He tried numerous other medications, even got into some experimental medical studies. The only drugs that worked were ones with ingreidients that have known cardiac side effects. even at one quarter regular dose, they almost killed him again. So, should he die by his own hand, or by the only drugs that would let him function? He's now a permanent guest on suicide watch in a locked down psych ward.

These people who say that checking out is a cowards way out have never had to deal with this kind of pain. They say, "Oh but's it's so selfish, they think nothing of the people they leave behind". I think it's selfish to ask them to stay. They know it will hurt those they leave, but they can't bear to stay. Everybody's pretty clear that someone in unbearable physical pain should be allowed to leave. But for some reason they don't feel the same way about emotional agony. People assume that these people are capable of "just taking it", that it will all eventually get better. I have news for you, when you're that chemmically depressed, nothing anyone says will make anything any better. You hurt because you can't live up to what they want, and you can't deal with your own emotions, much less anyone else's intolerance. There is no "light at the end of the tunnel". The only thing you know is that you are standing in the middle of the track, it's pitch black, and the only thing you can feel or hear is that oncoming frieght train, and you can't move. How can you ask someone you love to live with that kind of fear & agony, knowing that anything that will make them happy will kill them? To me that's what's selfish. This is the only man I would ever have married.

So, given what I know from both sides of the coin, what would I do today? The first thing I would suggest, is that if you're having a blue streak that lasts longer than a month, or in the case of a lost loved one, longer than three with no improvement, get yourself to a doctor for a blood test. Sometimes your body just needs a kick start to remind it what it should be producing. If someone has tried medications to no avail, and still chooses to check out, I must support their decision. Will they have more "karmic homework" ? Possibly, but I feel that's passing judgement. What if they came around this time to learn when to give up?

The one other thing that I will ask everyone to do, PLEASE make out a living will. This way your own personal wishes are clear, and if your state is one of those that registers these, by all means do it. This means your medical decisions are in your hands, not the whim of relatives who may not respect you, your lifestyle or your wishes, or worse yet, people who know nothing of your beliefs and desires. If it's registered, the state, and the medical facilities have to abide by it.
I apologize for the length, but I really felt this needed to be brought to light. If we have the "inalienable right to life liberty and the pursuit of ahppiness", we should also have the right to choose our death; without undue interference from people who know little or nothing about us. Life & death are both essential, both sacred. You can't have one without the other. Very little about them, much less the rest of our lives is black and white.
Blessed Be.

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