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Posted: Nov. 17, 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 Think That Euthanasia And Abortion Should Be Decisions Made By An... ||Mar 27th. at 6:02:07 pm EST|
|Zephyr Nightmoon (-, Oregon US) ||Age: 14 |
I think that euthanasia and abortion should be decisions made by an individual, not the government.
I know that if I was dying of a terminal illness, withering away and suffering every minute, I would want to die. What's the point, if there isn't any chance for survival, of lingering? I think that people should have the right to make this choice, which is why I support euthanasia.
Abortion is another right that an individual should have. I don't support abortion as a method of birth control in cases of carelessness, but that doesn't mean that people shouldn't have the right. I think that in some cases, abortion is necessary. One obvious instance is in cases of rape. Another is if it would be better for the child. If it had a horrible disablility, and would never really "live" (as we know it) or spend it's whole life hooked up to machines, it would be better not to be born at all. Or if it as going to be born into an impoverished family (like in a third world country) and would probably end up dying of starvation anyway. Many people preach against abortion, but would never adopt an unwanted child or help care for a poor one.
As for suicide, I can't condone that. I have a friend who repeatedly tries to kill herself. She's not just hurting herself, she's hurting everyone who cares about her. I appeal to anyone out there who is considering this selfish way out of things NOT TO DO IT if you care about anyone. You need help; don't be afraid to seek it.
| Greetings All, My Name Is Heidi, And Iam A 35 Year Old... ||Mar 27th. at 5:06:14 pm EST|
|heidi (Seattle, Washington US) ||Age: 35 |
My name is heidi, and Iam a 35 year old pagan, on a Germanic and Slavic heathen path. I have been openly pagan since I was 21.
Iam writing this to share my feelings, and experiences particularly in regards to suicide. I realise this isn't intended as a forum for therapy, but I wanted to share my views, and the events that have formed them.
My personal feelings are that noone has the right to regulate anyones decisions
regarding abortion, euthanasia or suicide. They are not crimes, moral or spiritual. Death and life are intertwined.
If I had cancer, (or some other malady) and was withering away, or in great pain, yes, I would want to be aided to the otherside. With my family around me, and as comfortably as possible.
Suicide is not so clear cut, and I can see many sides to this issue. Being a good Libran, I am destined to do this! :)
There are times for example, when Iam sure dying by ones own hand would be a far better fate than being raped by soldiers, sold into slavery, or tortured to death.
How many Gauls died by their own swords rather than become trophies for Rome? How many many woman took that poison draught in stead of being torn apart by the mobs at the gate? What of Bobby Sands and the men in Northern Ireland who chose to starve to death rather than comply with the British Government?
Self sacrifice for ones people, a cause, or choosing to die with diginity, by ones own hand, has occured in most places and times.
Who would call it a crime to choose death by ones own hand over any horrific alternative? To step off the cliff rather than live a life of shame, torment, or slavery? or worse?
The descion to not "fall into enemy hands" and choose our moment of death is an act of autonomy. We have control of few things, but we can decide to end our lives.
Who could stand by and watch a man jump off a bridge, doing nothing to save him if they could? Or not try to stop a teenager from swallowing sleeping pills?
Yes, the prisoner of war who takes that cianide pill isn't in a stable mental state either, and noone should ever have to make that choice unless they see no other way out.
Would I be able to take that pill?
Who knows, maybe I would if the alternative was far more horrific, and I was despaired enough. Or if I truly believed it was my duty as a soldier to do so.
In the case of attempted suicide due to depression, or mental illness I feel that we should interviene if possible. For many people who attempt it, they are driven to do so by sorrow, and depression. Feeling isolated and "different".
Not knowing where to turn for help, and not getting it when they do cry out for help. For some it is severe mental illness, undiagnosed. The influence of drugs or alcohol only adds to the problem.
I respect a persons right to want to end their pain, and suffering.
However, there are other options to suicide that should be tried first. Therapy, counceling, love( corny I know, but it works), support from people who care and in some cases medication.
If nothing else works, and they still cannot go on, then who am I to say they
have not fulfilled their lives on this earth, and let them go on to the otherworld? What then? I do not know.
This is hard to reconcile, as my own personal experience cause me to think twice about letting someone who suffers from aguish and pain commit suicide.
My own father committed suicide when I was 5years old.
As a child I had no idea how he died, but was told the truth about his death when I was a teenager.
At the time I was angry at him for taking his life.
I felt abandoned, betrayed, and shamed. If he had died in Vietnam, like some of my peers fathers had, then that I could have understood. Or if an accident had taken his life. It was hard to not have him in my life. I lied to people who asked me where my father was. I said he died in an accident. I grew up with a huge hole in my heart, one I have been healing ever since.
I know little about him, except he was a very passionate and troubled man.
That he was gifted as an artist, and a writer. I know he loved children, poetry, Bob Dylan, and the Byrds. But, he also grew up in an alcoholic family, and had a profound sense of not being loved. Never able to finish jumping through the hoops my grandmother set ever higher for him. His own father had abandoned him when he was an infant, leading my grandmother to lie and cover up the facts. My father found out the truth and was devastated. He had a cold, and
My father met and married my mom after only dating for a week. Then a year later in '65 I came along. My father withdrew, grew moodier, and stayed away from home for days. Yelling at my mom, and verbally abusing her. My mother didn't know what to do.
It was then he became increasingly violent, and this led my mother to leave him, to protect us. She could put up with his verbal abuse, but when he started to become violent that was the last straw. My mother left him.
It was the hardest thing she ever did, but she feared for my life.
The 60's where in full gear, and he joined in the party, using all the drugs of the day, and experiencing the "counter" culture. For many people at the time this was an amazing experience, and opened their minds to so many wonderful things. However, for many it only left them burned out, or lost.
This is the path my father took. He began to spiral downwards into his mental illness, fueled by drugs and isolation.
We heard from him occasionally, and I remember my last visit with him, he had long hair and looked like Jim Morrison, -with the beard.
We spent the day writing music, and playing guitar. I told him I loved him, he said he loved me. It was over in a flash, and then, he was gone.
I later learned from my mother that he had phoned after the visit and threatened my her with violence, and wanted to "take me away". His threats were real enough enough that he was forbidden to see me, until he got "help".
I never saw him again.
At the age of 27 he hung himself and left no note.
Perhaps if he had been a young man living in this time, with all our support and knowledge about depression, childhood abuse, and alcoholism, he may have gotten help. Or he may not. But he chose to no longer live with the emotional anguish and inner torment he felt every day. I suspect his mental illness was deeper than my family new at the time.
Now as a 35 year old woman, who has a better understanding of mental illness
I have forgiven him for leaving me so soon, and I understand why he set his spirit free, to return to the Isle of Apples, or Hella's Halls, to await rebirth.
There have been times in my own life, when I in a moment of extreme pain, sorrow and self doubt have thought about suicide as my only option.
I never did it. I couldn't.
I have worked hard to end the legacy of my fathers mental illness. Through counceling, and my spiritual path I have healed my own"father loss".
In a way he was never able to.
I revel in the wonderful qualities my father Nicolas gave me, I try to live my life as strong, artistic and kind woman, in his honor.
I see him in the mirror every day, in my Slavic features.
Would I have stopped him him from tying his noose if I could go back in time?
I think I would have.
Because until you have had a loved one commit suicide, you can not understand the pain it causes everyone around them. Ripples on a pond.
On the other hand his death affected me in ways that reveal themselves constantly. Would I have been as strong as I am now? Would I have become who I am today had he lived? Would he have caused me more pain and sorrow if he had lived? It happened so long ago.
This is a hard question to answer, and I don't know if I will ever have the answer.
Thank you for reading my thoughts.
May you your Gods see you, May you be blessed with health, strength and love!
Hail to the Gods of my heart!
| Personally, I Think Suicide Is A Sefish, Selfish, Selfish Act Unless One... ||Mar 27th. at 4:42:06 pm EST|
|Stormy (Chickasha, Oklahoma US) ||Age: 23 - Email |
Personally, I think suicide is a sefish, selfish, selfish act unless one is terminally ill. Mental illness can be helped. It depends on if the person or persons are willing to get that help. I have a friend who was just about ready to take himself out, but he hasn't done it because he got help. Suicide is an act of loneliness, it really really is. As for the religious implications, in the end, it is between that person and God. Abortion is not something I think I could do personally, but I do think that I should be able to have the right to make that choice. The decision is between me and God. Euthanasia should only be done if the person is terminally ill or has been in a coma for a long, long time and/or would not want to live life on a machine. Again, the decision to be euthanized is between the person and God. These are all personal decisions. Each of these decisions are selfish decisions in some way. Humans are very controlling creatures, they truly truly are. In some ways, we have to be for our survival, but we want too much to interfere with what we "perceive" to be the survival of another being. If I talk to someone who is suicidal, or wants to get an abortion, or wants to be euthanized, I can talk till I am blue in the face, in the end, they will make whatever decision they feel is "right" for them. All I can do after that is know that I did "my part" and come to terms with it.
| My Response To This Is Extremely Emotionally Charged, And Although I Have... ||Mar 27th. at 3:51:03 pm EST|
|A Solitary Wiccan (Somewhere in..., Massachusetts US) ||Age: 26 |
My response to this is extremely emotionally charged, and although I have been active on these boards and others for quite some time, I will be withholding both my usual name and my email address on this issue for my own protection.
Ultimately, I feel that all of these are the choice of the individual.
Suicide is a tragic one, and a personal decision with repercussions that spread outward. The pain of the suicidal person is passed onto loved ones who miss that person once they're gone.
Euthanasia is, just as with our animal companions, often a blessing underneath the loss of a loved one. It is an end to suffering, and while I think should only be used in extreme cases, should be legalized when there is no other recourse. Let a person die with dignity if they choose.
Abortion is a tough one, and as someone who has gone through this, it is NOT an easy choice to make, and those who make the decision to terminate a pregnancy always walk the painful road of recovery/mourning/penitence (for lack of a better word) alone. I know I made the right decision because I was in no condition to raise a child when I became pregnant--emotionally or in maturity, but I also have regrets because I KNOW that it was not a black and white issue. Many people suggest adoption instead-- I've been there, too, as I am a closed-adoption baby from the mid-70's. Although I love my (adoptive) parents, there is always the knowledge that I was given away, and that I was not wanted by the woman who carried me for nine months. As I get older, and see my friends having children, and my cousins starting to look like their parents, it's become more and more difficult because I feel completely alone, and now even moreso because I have given up being a parent to what would have been a beautiful child. The only solace I feel is knowing that the soul of my child has gone back up to rest until it is time to come to earth again.
| I Think It Is Wrong Because Of The Law "harm None... ||Mar 27th. at 3:04:13 pm EST|
|SiiJric (Houma, Louisiana US) ||Age: 17 - Email |
I think it is wrong because of the law "Harm None"
| In My Personal Opinion, There Is Something Wrong In All Taking Of... ||Mar 27th. at 2:28:39 pm EST|
|Kaicielia BlueDragon (Madison, Wisconsin US) ||Age: 25 - Email |
In my personal opinion, there is something wrong in all taking of life, whether prenatal, or "mercy" killing. I have to admit, however, that I have never had the unfortunate opportunity to experience any of these happenings firsthand. My sister once had an abortion, but I lived 1200 miles away from her at the time, and didn't hear about it until months after the fact. I have never discussed it with her. I do not agree with the decision she made, but I will not jeopardize our relationship with such things.
Although I believe that these things are wrong, I acknowledge the fact that these are my beliefs. Beliefs, which are different and changing in all walks of life, should not be included into laws. No one has the right to regulate such actions, and the people wishing to utilize such things have the right to.
Suicide, however, has different aspects to it than the other two. In most cases, the person committing suicide is not only young, but also troubled in many ways. Most see their problems in a magnifying glass, generally they are not thinking straight when it occurs. Anyone believeing that their life is not worth living needs to be delt with quickly. They need to be shown that their life is worth living. Things change, always. In my experience, they generally get better. With proper counseling, these people can live a good, healthy, happy life.
| First, I'd Like To Say That These Should Probably Be Seperate Questions... ||Mar 27th. at 1:04:39 pm EST|
|Grey Streambank (San Diego County, California US) ||Age: 23 |
First, I'd like to say that these should probably be seperate questions... most people I know have different stances on abortion, euthanasia, and suicide.
Personally, as a man, I don't think it's really my place to have a view on abortion, other than to say I believe it should continue to be legal. This is an issue that individual women (and perhaps the baby's father) should make decisions on, since society at large seems to have no consensus on the subject. It should remain legal, for those who do not believe it wrong. If it involved a close friend or family member of mine, however, I would advise against it.
On the issue of suicide, I don't feel qualified to speak.
This leaves us with euthanasia. I am personally in favor of it in cases of terminal, incurable illness. My grandfather had such an illness - brain cancer - when I was a child, and among other things, spent the last five months of his life in a hospital, and due to our age, unable to see his grandchildren. (My sister and I were 4 and 6, respectively). I do not know whether my grandfather would have chosen euthanasia over this, but I believe the choice should have been available to him.
| I Do Think All Of These Issues Are Personal Choices, And Yet... ||Mar 27th. at 12:41:13 pm EST|
|Greg (Mesa, Arizona US) ||Age: 24 - Email |
I do think all of these issues are personal choices, and yet, we as a group/tribe/village, have the opportunity to help each other through these moments.
Abortion - Oooh, this one is tricky for me. I think that with the easy availability of birth control the opportunity for mistakes is severely reduced. We can get free condoms in America through any AIDS/HIV organization in a city near you. They always have jars, fish bowls, boxes of condoms in every office for people to pick up. I do see the in-utero being as a child, as a real life. The journey has begun, and for me, abortion is the extinguishing of that flame. Simultaneously, I do think that if the mistake (or something dreadful like rape) does occur and quality care can not be delivered to the child, then abortion is a valid, albeit unfortunate and very sad, choice. I think the Keep Your Laws Off My Body is a really cheap way to try and depersonalize a difficult issue. Let's call it like it is: abortion is a nightmare decision no matter which way you go.
Euthanasia - This one's much easier for me: I'm all for it. Everyone should have the right to end his/her own life if the quality is the pits. I don't want to end life in insufferable, long-term agony or a comatose state; without the quality, life's not worth it.
Suicide - I'm surprised at the vehement respones to this. It's important to impress upon those considering this that they only want to end their pain not their lives: the two are not entwined.
Love, Light, and Laughter to all!
| This Is An Interesting Linkage Of So-called Controversial Topics, All Involving The... ||Mar 27th. at 11:54:20 am EST|
|Cat (Asheville, North Carolina US) ||Age: 34 |
This is an interesting linkage of so-called controversial topics, all involving the right to die, or cause someone else to, when the person in question is "innocent"--that is, not "deserving" to die by virtue of being opposed to us in some way (as a serial killer is opposed to social order and community, as the enemy soldier in wartime may kill us if we don't kill him, as the person who breaks into our house and threatens our families is fair game if we can manage to kill him.) The question seems to be "do we believe that it's all right for someone 'innocent' to die if s/he is, or will be, in enough pain, or *cause* enough pain, by his/her life?"
On all counts, I think I'd have to say yes--even though I profoundly admire Anna Quindlen's short essay "Abortion Is Too Complex to Feel All One Way About." I don't know that I'd advocate any of these solutions in all, or even most cases, but I want everyone to have the option. Do I think that a fetus is a living being? It gives every sign of being alive--and those who defend abortion by by claiming it isn't seem to be hedging, however good their intent. Do I think that abortion and euthanasia are murder? In fact, I do. But is murder sometimes justifiable in the name of preventing suffering? This is the point that's hard to state and harder to stand by, but in fact it seems to be, and when push comes to shove it seems likely that most of us would do murder if the choices are clear enough.
Why would we do it, when murder's widely thought to be a bad thing? Well, if we're willing to make these hard choices (and admittedly not everybody is) maybe it's because we recognize something that, oddly, fundamentalist Christians don't seem to: that death is NOT the worst thing that can happen to us. Torture or chronic physical anguish is worse. Utter isolation is worse. Paralysis might be worse, depending on the victim's own view. An unloved childhood might well be worse. Christians believe in an afterlife of bliss, but many of them won't conscience sending anybody to it (except in warfare, self-defense, execution, or the occasional clinic bombing...there are a lot of "excepts" there, come to think of it.) Pagans don't necessarily believe in any kind of afterlife, but they seem to understand, by and large, that death is a part of life and can be a gift given in profound love when life gets too painful. Those who believe in the Goddess generally feel that one of her aspects is the Crone, or the Reaper--the one who brings death when it's time for death. I think we'd do well not to underestimate the worth of that gift.
| I Wholly Feel These Are Individual Descisions. Taking One's Own Life Is... ||Mar 27th. at 11:46:01 am EST|
|Cerulean Skies (Eugene, Oregon US) ||Age: 22 |
I wholly feel these are individual descisions.
Taking one's own life is without a doubt that indiviual's choice. It is similar to murder in that a life is taken away and others are affected by this. But the person comes to this conclusion as a choice. Now, this person may be depressed and with help could come to a different conclusion. But in their reality, the choice they make is the best for them.
As a person living with depression, I did have ideations of suicide. As a wiccan, I came to the conclusion that Karma and Reincarnation was going to bring me back here to live out life's lessons. Suicide was not a quick end-all to the problems. Again, my choice.
Abortion is such a heated topic. Where is the line between choice and "the Rede"?
Personally , I still feel it is a choice as one person should not be able to decide the fate of millions of women's bodies. I am taken back to 1995 and I just found out I was pregnant. This is life altering. Then if I didnt have a choice and had to carry it full term, only to give it away? I am happy to have had the option to keep it through term or not. I am happy I got to choose how it was going to affect my life. The repercusions we entirely on me and no one else.
The country is about choices and options all in the persuit of happiness. Taking that away is not acceptable.
| I Support A Woman's Right To Choose. Yes, The Father Is Involved... ||Mar 27th. at 11:02:59 am EST|
|Elektra (Toronto, Ontario CA) ||Age: 26 - Email |
I support a woman's right to choose. Yes, the father is involved, since without him conception would not have occured, but he is not the one caring for the child in utero. Many times abortion is sought because the pregnancy was not on purpose. There is a lot of talk from pro-life movements about adoption. My personal opinion on that is, if I found myself pregnant and knew I did not want to have the baby, would I really make a good pre-natal mom? Who can say? But if someone is not making the responsible choice to guard against pregnancy, who's to say they will care for the baby prenatally? I'm focussing on unprotected consensual sex here, but I stand by my pro-choice statement, whether it be because of rape, or otherwise. I jsut worry about women who are guilted into keeping the baby for the purpose of adoption, only to wind up givng birth to a baby with fetal alcohol syndrome, or someting equally as sad and preventable.
I support euthansia. It's hard, yes, but I would want the compassion if/when I find myself in a painful, terminal situation.
Suicide is very tough for those who are left behind to pick up the pieces, absolutely. However, as someone who is clinically depressed, I can say that I know what it's like to feel so utterly without hope or care and to be so very very sad. (on meds now, please don't worry)While it may be seen as selfish, it really is a last-ditch attempt to find peace, as hard as that may be for some people to understand. I don't believe someone would choose to die in such a glorious world if something wasn't terribly terribly wrong.
| Well With Abortion,i Feel That It Is Both Parents Right To... ||Mar 27th. at 10:56:12 am EST|
|Leigh Kolosky (Chisholm, Minnesota US) ||Age: 19 |
Well with abortion, I feel that it is both parents right to choose. Unless of course the father is out of the picture and wants nothing to do with the baby to begin with it. I think if they make abortion illegal then there are going to be more babies thrown in the dumpsters and women having dangerous illegal abortions done by people on the street. If they want to take abortion to a miminium then they need to educate more about absetince, and not just about that you can get pregnant or get an std. But instead that sex creates adult feelings, that children arent ready to deal with. I think there should be more strict laws to make sure the fathers stay around. If they do illegalize abortion, I think then that any man that ditches his children with his own free will, should have to get a viscitomy. I do not think abortion is murder, because just how exactly living in a womb a life. Now, killing your baby after it is born is murder, because they did have a life. Murder is the taking of one's life.
I also strongly believe in reincarnation, so I believe the baby will get another chance. With suicide, I think that your problems follow you until you face them. Even if you kill yourself, your problems will follow you in the next life. With euthanasia, I think it is alright. Just as long as the person that is dying agrees to it. Especially with people that need a machine to keep them alive. That is not a life.
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