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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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| I Feel The Need To Address Some Issues Related To These Topics... ||Apr 1st. at 5:44:24 am EDT|
|Black Kat (Anytown, Oregon US) ||Age: 46 |
I feel the need to address some issues related to these topics which seem not to have been covered.
It seems to me that the Right Wing has convinced some people that "choice" is somehow evil or immoral. My personal feelings are very much in harmony with a statement that Starhawk made regarding abortion. She said that the issue is not about the right to life versus the right to choose. It is about the right to cooerce. Some people seem to believe that their personal beliefs/choices about religion gives them the right to cooerce the rest of us into goose-stepping according to their dictates.
I am dismayed by all the comments from people who assume that women use abortion as birth control are selfish. Is choosing to not breed truely so terribly selfish? I would vehemently disagree! I think the kindest, most generous thing we could do to improve life for all of us on this seriously overburdoned planet (not to mention for the next 7 generations of humans to come) would to encourage as many of us as possible to not breed, or to at least reduce our population level by half (gently and benignly, of course!).
To me, a world packed wall to wall with people, like sardines in a can, is not kinder and gentler. Quite the opposite, in fact. Giving the future generations a world with life support systems that function (clean air and water, healthy soil, etc.) seems far kinder than bringing in another human who will need to be fed, sheltered, clothed, and so on. I also strongly believe that humans need to learn to fairly and equitably share this planet with the other life forms who are here with us. Our mushrooming over-population destroys the habitats (read that as the homes and food supplies folks) of other living creatures. I believe these beings are just as much loved by the Goddess and Her Consort as we are!
This is a hot topic. I can see that I've gotten a bit steamed, here.
I guess it boils down to what you believe. I think we were given the ability to choose. If choosing was not o.k, then we would not have been given brains to think with. We would've come already programmed...and then there wouldn't be much point in being here anyway. Choice is the gift of the Old Ones, and it appears They are not going to take it away any time soon, not even if it looks like we are going to destroy ourselves and take much of the life on this beautiful Earth with us. Like the Witch's athame or sword, choice is double-edged. Therefore, it behooves us to use it carefully, but I am NOT in favor of doing away with it, nor letting other people put THEIR religion/beliefs on my body or life!
I would ask those who assume that women who chose abortion are selfish and careless to please reconsider. As many have pointed out, birth control is not 100% guaranteed, and there can be perfectly valid reasons for ending a pregnancy besides not wanting to be "inconvenienced". Also I would ask those people why the fetus' welfare is considered so much more important than that of the living adult woman? Are women who have sex but don't want to have babies truely so selfish? I think that those ideas come from religions which have contempt for both women and sex.
Regarding suicide and euthanasia. Again, we bump up against the issue of choice. I would not want my words to be used to help some desparate person push themselves into making any drastic moves with possibly poorly thought out consequences. I am all for helping those in distress in any way we can. But I will not pass judgement on those who decide to use those options. Like others, I had a relative die a most painful and horrible death from cancer. I would prefer to be euthanized instead of enduring the agony he experienced. As for suicide, there was a time in which I seriously considered ending my life. This may sound crazy, but it was the voice of Mother Earth that kept me here. Speaking from below my toes, she told me that no matter how hopeless my life looked, my problems had a specific beginning in time, and that a solution would eventually be found. And I remembered something I had learned during a health class in high school: people commit suicide because they belive that their circumstances can never, ever get better. I wasn't involved in witchcraft at that time, but I'm glad I listened to Ma Earth, because now I know that the one certainty in life is change!
I close with a plea for religious freedom, and the continued right to choose.
Bright Blessings to all.
| On Abortion I Think It Should Be Illegal. It's The Life Of... ||Apr 1st. at 10:37:02 am EDT|
|Johanna (Fayettevill, Arkansas US) ||Age: 43 - Email |
On Abortion I think it should be illegal. It's the life of another person that is at risk, not your own. The choices to be made were made before another life was created. Once that life has been created, then it's a matter of responsibility for making choices to preserve and protect that life.
I believe that Suicide should be legal with a short counseling period to insure that all available channels have been explored and that the best option really is suicide. Although I've yet to hear of anyone's dead body being tried and jailed for suicide. It's attempted suicide and the messy problems that is really illegal, and helping someone to commit suicide as they might not have really done it on their own.
Euthanasia should be legal only if the person has made a legal will stating the conditions that they would want to be euthanized. I wouldn't want such a decision made by anyone else.
| Tackling, In Order, Abortion, Euthanasia, And Suicide: I Am Personally Opposed To... ||Apr 1st. at 1:54:53 pm EDT|
|Lorre Nickelson (Ursa Danu) (Laramie, Wyoming US) ||Age: 43 - Email |
Tackling, in order, Abortion, Euthanasia, and Suicide:
I am personally opposed to abortion, but that's only for myself. I could never bring myself to undergo this. However, this does not prevent me from thinking that this decision belongs to EACH individual - not one of us has the authority on this plane to impose our own beliefs on another person. Period.
We euthanize our beloved pets when they are too ill or in too much pain to continue with life; why can we not extend the same courtesy to our fellow humans when they are suffering the neverending pain of a terminal illness? How much more humane would it be to let the person slowly, painfully crossing over do so in a haze of morphine? There are so many moral ramifications to this decision, however, that we may never see this as a viable part of hospice care.
I have been actively suicidal in my lifetime, simply because the circumstances of my life at the time were totally unacceptable and unchangeable. I don't believe it is wrong and I don't believe we'll be "punished" for it on the other side. I think it's simply another door into the Summerlands.
| As One Who Has Been Suicidal, And Is A Practicing Witch (and... ||Apr 1st. at 2:08:28 pm EDT|
|Bridget Blackwater (Santa Barbara, California US) ||Age: 22 |
As one who has been suicidal, and is a practicing witch (and Catholic), I do not think that these issues should be religious ones, and have nothing to do with morality. I have friends, who were very religious and moral people, who have comitted suicide rather than go on with their lives. My personal view is that what comes will come. It should be the person's own choice, and things that can be done to make these choices less appealing should be implemented.
A common myth about suicide is that the person is doing it to gain notireity or to make a statement, or just because they are mean, or unkind or whatnot. This isna true. Being suicidal, and attempting the act, is often very hard on the person in question, and there is little or nothing anyone else can do about it. Trying to make suicides into something morally wrong, is in itself a morally wrong thing to do. It is taking away the person's right, in a sense, to have control over their lives.
I am not a morally wrong person, I have strong beliefs in the divine and in the sanctity of life, yet I chose a year ago that I needed an out. I was depressed, also suffering from random panic attacks and simply could not go on. I have the scars to prove this. I am better now, and things like this can be regulated with medication.
To sum it up, these three issues are personal choices, not a "right." The divine created us with free will, and the aspects keep watch over us. That should be enough.
Bright Blessings and Blessed Be.
| On The Subject Of Suicide, Euthanasia And Abortion, No Matter What I... ||Apr 1st. at 3:29:53 pm EDT|
|mnemosyne (Detroit, Michigan US) ||Age: 33 |
On the subject of suicide, euthanasia and abortion, no matter what I believe, it is not my right, or place, to judge and deny anyone their personal choice.
Education and support is very important. We can offer an opinion or support, but anything else is manipulation and coercion. We need to be careful on what we deem "ethical."
It is not our place to answer for the moral and ethical choices that another person chooses to make, as long as it doesn't physically affect other parties, (as in sexual assault, murder, theft...etc.) We can argue that abortion takes the life of a child, but the mental and emotional health of the mother needs to be taken into account as well and given top priority. Until that fetus is alive and breathing on its own, and the termination of the pregnancy is within a reasonable, safe period of time, no one should have the right to make any decision for the mother. She should have final say about HER body. Granted, I agree that using abortion as a means of birth control is in poor taste. But we need education. We need to build self esteem and offer support from a young age to all. To give people the ability to make responsible, educated choices about how they want to live their lives. Create an environment where people feel safe and protected and strong enough to deal with the complexities of life. We need to stop treating people as statistics or disposable goods. Each and every one of us is a unique individual with differing needs, wants and experiences. If we stand on the outside, and point our fingers in judgment and make decisions for others based on OUR personal ethical and moral belief systems, without getting involved personally and truly understanding or supporting or helping that person, we should take a careful look at our motivations and our responsibilities, and our role in the greater scheme of things. If we pass judgment and do not do one thing to offer kindly assistance (without coercion or condescension)to the one we so passionately and quickly castigate, then we are guilty, too.
| As The End Of This, My Medical Internship Year, Approaches, I Find... ||Apr 1st. at 4:07:39 pm EDT|
|Marin Granholm (Anchorage, Alaska US) ||Age: 27 - Email |
As the end of this, my medical internship year, approaches, I find that my views on abortion become fuzzier, and my views on euthanasia become clearer, and both different from what they used to be:
1) Abortion: I am still strongly pro-choice, but a seed of doubt has entered my mind from viewing those 8 week ultrasounds. Life is so incredible, so amazing. I know I have no right to attempt to control a woman's body for the sake of something that is not yet a person, but there is definitely something there, and I believe it can feel and respond to changes in its environment.
2) Euthanasia: I used to think of doctors expecting their patients to die as being nonchalant; now I think this is often the most humane thing we do, and we recognize the time to quit trying so hard far too late. However, I think what causes people to want euthanasia is the thought of a painful, lingering death. This is not necessary. If you plan for what interventions you do and don't want beforehand, and put them in writing or designate a power of attorney, there is no reason you cannot die a peaceful, natural death, at home or at a hospice, without suffering. I feel it is a wrong and dangerous line to cross for doctors to inflict harm. Incidentally, people should educate themselves about which interventions are more or less likely to be helpful or carry greater or lesser chance of harm. Most people think that CPR is a more benign treatment than being placed on a ventilator. In many cases, the exact opposite is true.
3) Suicide: In some cultures, this is the way an elder warrior would gracefully exit the society. Barring such beliefs, I feel the intent represents an illness that needs treatment.
| Having Never Been In A Situation Where I Was Considering Abortion Or... ||Apr 1st. at 7:08:16 pm EDT|
|Vivhianna (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario CA) ||Age: 18 - Email |
Having never been in a situation where I was considering abortion or suicide, and never having had to make a decision concerning euthanasia, I can't say truthfully that I'd know how I would act if I had to make such a decision. However, my friends and I talk about these things a lot, so this is relatively familiar territory. Speaking in terms of opinion, that is.
I don't think that anyone really has the right to judge people who have had an abortion. Sure, there's something wrong if abortion is used only as a form of birth control, but if the decision is made after a lot of careful thought, and if the mother truly believes that she has no other option--I don't think anybody has the right to say, "You're a murderess! A cold, unfeeling murderess!" to her. Like as not, she's already feeling guilty and upset. Forgive me, but I really don't think that this is the best way to deal with somebody who is considering, or who has ever had, an abortion.
As for suicide--for me, it's hard to imagine the things which drive some people to such a drastic action. Again, I don't think it's fair to judge people who feel that they have no other options without at least considering their reasons. They should be talked out of it if it's at all possible, yes, but I don't feel that they should be condemned for feeling that life has become unbearable. Suicide, I've heard, only hurts everybody involved whether it be the person who commits it, or their family and friends, or even casual acquaintances. It's understandable that it's a very upsetting issue. All I can say is that I think that suicide is wrong, but I also think that it's wrong to say that people who commit suicide are guilty of a moral or ethical crime.
And then, there's the topic of euthanasia. On one hand, when cherished family pets are in unbearable pain and their quality of life is close to nil, we usually consent to euthanasia out of a sense of compassion for them. One would think, then, that the same courtesy would be extended to humans whose life contains no more than suffering if nothing at all could be done to ease their pain. And I do mean ABSOLUTELY nothing. But on the other hand, sometimes this could lead to "so-and-so has become a burden, let's get rid of him/her and say we're being merciful." I'm not saying that this would happen every time; I certainly don't mean to offend anybody here. (My sincerest apologies if I do.) What I mean to say is that some people may take advantage of an action which would be (to me) the very, very, very, VERY last resort. As with abortion, I think it's a choice which should be made only after extremely careful consideration. I also think that it should only be by consent of the person in question.
That said, I would like to express my condolances to those who have been through times when they, or somebody close to them, have considered abortion or suicide, or even euthanasia.
| As The Description Of This Question States, These Are Very Emotionally Charged... ||Apr 2nd. at 2:27:21 pm EDT|
|Evan Jay Downey (Montgomery, Alabama US) ||Age: 30 - Email |
As the description of this question states, these are very emotionally charged topics. My intention here is to state my opinion and nothing more. I'll discuss each item individually, starting with abortion.
I personally do not feel it is my place or perrogative to participate in the decision to take of a human life. Whether or not life begins at conception, delivery, or some point in between has been an issue for debate for decades. For me, I feel that life begins when an unborn child has a reasonable chance to survive outside the womb. With the advances in medical science, the survival rate of premature babies is constantly increasing at earlier stages of pregnancy. However, there is still a threshold where life cannot be supported if taken from the womb before a certain timeframe, and that is what I base my opinion on. Women who choose to abort their pregnancy prior to a point where the infant could reasonably survive should have every right to do so. While I may find it impossible for myself to make such a decision, I believe that until such a point, the fetus is a part of the mother, and not yet a seperate entity. Therefore, it is the right of the mother to determine what happens to her body.
Euthanasia is another delicate topic. The issue encompasses many different aspects that prompt more and more questions. My opinion is that if there is not a reasonable chance for recovery, and the patient is no longer living a productive life, and hence facing only deterioration and death, it is far kinder to allow that person to return to the cycle of life and return.
Suicide is a very personal matter. While it is true that suicide affects those left behind, I believe it is the individual who has to face the situation. My belief in reincarnation and that each life has lessons to be learned, makes suicide an option I personally cannot choose. I believe that cutting short one lifetime in an attempt to resolve a problem or situation only ensures that one will face the same situation in the next, and the only way to progress spiritually is to face your problems and learn to rely on faith to overcome them.
Anyone wishing to contact me regarding this opinions is welcome to do so, provided you are respectful and courteous.
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