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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: 19,967,197  

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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 

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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