Definitions and Alternative names (General Notes) What is Euthanasia?The painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma. Also called mercy killing. the act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme medical measures, a person or animal suffering from an incurable, especially a painful, disease or condition.
In Latin Euthanasia means “Good Death””Eu” = good “Death” = ThanasiaEuthanasia is the direct killing of a person, usually by injecting a lethal substance. Euthanasia is legal in:Netherlands (With or without the consent of the patient)BelgiumLuxembourg. Attempts to legalize assisted suicide with ballot measures have been defeated in five states. Assisted suicide is legal in:Oregon (US State)Vermont (US State)Washington (US State)Montana (US State)Victoria (Australian State)NetherlandsBelgium LuxembourgIllegal drugs from Mexico ? Taken to Australia and New Zealand to be used for suicide.Relevant Terminology EuthanasiaThe painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma.Assisted SuicideSuicide affected with the assistance of another person, especially the taking of lethal drugs provided by a doctor for the purpose by a patient suffering from a terminal illness or incurable condition.
(Assisted suicide involves one person providing the means and instructions to help another person commit suicide. Physician Assisted Suicide Suicide by a patient facilitated by means (such as a drug prescription) or by information (such as an indication of a lethal dosage) provided by a physician aware of the patient’s intentActive EuthanasiaActive euthanasia occurs when the medical professionals, or another person, deliberately do something that causes the patient to die.Passive EuthanasiaPassive euthanasia is when death is brought about by an omission – i.e. when someone lets the person die.
This can be by withdrawing or withholding treatment: Withdrawing treatment: for example, switching off a machine that is keeping a person alive, so that they die of their disease.Voluntary EuthanasiaVoluntary euthanasia is the practice of ending a life in a painless manner. Voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide have been the focus of great controversy in recent years.Involuntary EuthanasiaInvoluntary euthanasia occurs when euthanasia is performed on a person who would be able to provide informed consent, but does not, either because they do not want to die, or because they were not asked.Palliative carePalliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.Active EuthanasiaAny procedure or treatment that directly causes the death of a patient. Considered immoral and sinful.Passive Euthanasia Intentionally withholding life-sustaining treatment.
If the treatment is sustaining life and stopping or removing it ends life, then doing so is considered passive euthanasia.Natural Selection Sacred Text ReferencesAll aspects of life are considered to be the result of GodGenesis 1:26-38″Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the life stock, over all the Earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”All aspects of life are considered to be sacredLuke 12:24″You are worth so much more than birds”Corinthians 3:16-17″Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him.
For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”‘Corinthians 6:19-20″Or do you not know that your body’s a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
“Exodus 20:13 “You shall not murder.”Deuteronomy 32:39’There is no God besides me, I put to death and I bring life’ The fifth CommandmentEssentially, few christians can ignore the simple clarity and directness of God’s 5th commandment of “Thou shalt not kill”.Ruling out the act of Euthanasia being considered morally right (Exodus 20:13)However this is not universally believed by all Christians like all moral decisions.
Church/Christian TeachingsBible forms the main source of ethics for all Christiansthe Ten Commandments (Old Testament)The Sermon on the Mount of Beatitudes (New Testament)Jesus’ teachings and example (New Testament)Human beings are considered as stewards rather than owners of their own lives as God is creator of themOf an eternal purpose as set apart and governed by GodOf sacred, intrinsic and immeasurable value, inherent and God-given dignity as created in the image of GodThereby value and dignity is not determined by one’s usefulness to or status in societyThereby all life has meaning, purpose and is worth livingHuman beings are subject to the will of God, including the nature of their birth and deathHuman wants, needs become irrelevant, specifically with reference to control over deathSuffering is derived of God as God has power and dominion over all lifeThereby suffering that cannot be relieved by modern medicine must be endured, accepted as it comes from GodDeath is considered to be a part of life that is to be accepted and respected as a loving gift from GodChristians are generally opposed to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide as it invades God’s precedence over life, deathChristians generally are against Euthanasia, due to the belief that life is a gift from God.Christians believe God created life and it should only be God that takes it away.Christians believe we are made in God’s image- IMAGO DEI. This doesn’t mean humans look physically the same as god, but rather we possess characteristics, such as free will, which allow us to make decisions over right and wrong.Christians might argue that to propose euthanasia would suggest that life was not worth living and all life made by god is sacred. Natural LawIt presupposes that all humans are created with the ability to know what is right and wrong.It suggests that if it is not followed, the perpetrator will destroy him or herself.
Schools of ethics in western philosophy can be divided, very roughly, into three sorts. The first, drawing on the work of Aristotle, holds that the virtues (such as justice, charity & generosity) are dispositions to act in ways that benefit both the person possessing them and that person’s society.Natural Law – Scriptural Basis “They show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even defend them” (Romans 2:15)Schools of ethics in western philosophyAristotleAristotle’s 4 Cardinal virtuesPrudenceAristotle defined prudence as recta ratio agibilium, “right reason applied to practice.”JusticeFr. John A. Hardon notes in his Modern Catholic Dictionary, it is “the constant and permanent determination to give everyone his or her rightful due.”FortitudeFortitude allows us to overcome fear and to remain steady in our will in the face of obstacles, but it is always reasoned and reasonable; the person exercising fortitude does not seek danger for danger’s sake.
TemperanceWhile fortitude is concerned with the restraint of fear so that we can act, temperance is the restraint of our desires or passions.Applying Euthanasia to Aristotle’s 4 Cardinal virtues would suggest that abortion is not ethical. Prudence = Would allow people to Euthanize themselves as the “right reason applied in practice” could be viewed as a justification for the killing of an individual in a state of suffering. Justice = Would allow individuals to Euthanize themselves as it refer to giving everyone a right, thus the allowing individuals the right to end their own life.Fortitude = Would not allow individuals to Euthanize themselves as it refers to overcoming adversity not giving into adversity.Temperance = Due to Temperance not having a direct relation to life or death, Temperance must be interpreted in an abstract way. To not give into temptation would be not end a life early, and allow natural selection to occur. Deontology (Defined by Kant)Deontology = The Concept of duty central to morality.
Knowledge of their duty as rational beings. The morality of an action is based on rules. Rule based ethics.
Applying Euthanasia to Deontology.Kant argued that people who commit suicide destroy their rationality in service to something else – pain. And our rationality is more valuable than anything else. So suicide and asking for euthanasia do not show respect for our own rationality; they do not treat it as an end in itself. – UK Euthanasia (Kant’s Euthanasia)However, this does not account for people want to end their life due to a serious illness.
Therefore, a human being who may lose their dignity and their rationality through illness and pain may legitimately request euthanasia.Utilitarianism (The Greatest Happiness Principle)Utilitarianism = The guiding principle of conduct should be the greatest happiness or benefit of the greatest number.Applying Utilitarianism to EuthanasiaThe Factors to consider:Voluntary Euthanasia Grounds to take life (Competence, Mental illness)Palliative CareThe Slippery SlopeThe utilitarian case for allowing patients to choose euthanasia, under specified conditions and safeguards, is strong. The slippery slope argument attempts to combat this case on utilitarian grounds. The outcomes of the open practice of voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands, and of physician-assisted suicide in Oregon, do not, however, support the idea that allowing patients to choose euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide leads to a slippery slope.
Hence it seems that, on utilitarian grounds, the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide would be a desirable reform.Individual ConscienceConscience has primacy, but it must be an informed Conscience. Informed of the positives and negatives, what is taught about the issue and being able to be comfortable in the presence of God with the decision. Conscience in all Christian variants is not intended to be an “opt-out” option, a wild card in the game of life.Acts 23:1 “Concepts Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, “Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.”1 Timothy 1:19″Concepts keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.
“LutheranThe Lutheran Church is opposed to Euthanasia’End of Life Decisions’ issued by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) (November 9, 1992)Declares the prohibition of all forms of active euthanasia ‘Deliberately destroying life create in the image of God is contrary to the Church’s Christian conscience’ ‘We oppose the legalisation of physician-assisted suicide’ Declares an acceptance of the legitimacy in refusing any form of extraordinary means to preserve life ‘Patients… may refuse treatment recommended by health care professionals when they do not believe the benefits outweigh the risks and burdens’ Declares an acceptance, in some circumstances, of the legitimacy to withhold ordinary means to preserve life ‘When..
. artificially administered nutrition and hydration will not… prevent death.
.. patients or their legal spokespersons may consider them unduly burdensome… it may be morally responsible to withhold or withdraw them and allow death to occur’ Declares an acceptance of passive euthanasia The responsibility of the physician to relieve suffering includes the aggressive management of pain, even when it may result in an earlier death’Catholic The Catholic Church is opposed to EuthanasiaExemplified by the 2nd Vatican CouncilReiterated the dignity of the individual human life and confirmed his/her right to life Included in the condemned crimes against life; ‘such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or wilful suicide (Gaudium et Spes, 27)Declaration on Euthanasia (Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on May 5, 1980)Euthanasia is a ‘violation of the divine law, an offence against the dignity of the human person, a crime against life and an attack on humanity'”In the absence of other sufficient remedies, it is permitted, with the patient’s consent, to have recourse to the means provided by the most advanced medical techniques, even if these means are still at the experimental stage and are not without a certain risk” (AAS 72 550)The taking of innocent life opposes God’s love for that person.
Donum Vitae (Gift of life) asserts “all life must be respected”Catechism of the Catholic ChurchDeclares the prohibition of all forms of active suicide and euthanasia ‘Whatever its motive and means, direct euthanasia… is morally unacceptable’ (paragraph 2277) Declares the prohibition of any cessation to ordinary means to preserve life ‘The ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted’ (paragraph 2279) Declares an acceptance of passive euthanasia and the refusal to assume extraordinary means to preserve life’Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate (paragraph 2278) This endorses the Catholic belief that it is morally acceptable to refuse extraordinary and aggressive medical means to preserve life and thus not a form of euthanasia ‘The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or means’ (paragraph 2279)This forms an example of double effect whereby the intention is not to kill the person but to relieve suffering· AbortionDefinitions and Alternative names An Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus. Such as:Spontaneous expulsion of a human fetus during the first 12 weeks of gestation — compare miscarriage Induced expulsion of a human fetus.Expulsion of a fetus by a domestic animal often due to infection at any time before completion of pregnancy — compare contagious abortion.
The NSW Crimes Act 1900 says that unlawfully procuring an abortion is an offence punishable by imprisonment for up to ten years.NSW Crimes Act 1900 ? “any drug or noxious thing, or any instrument or thing whatsoever” The circumstances in which an abortion is lawful were expanded in 1971.NSW District Court ? Justice Levine “An abortion was not unlawful if a doctor honestly believed on reasonable grounds that the operation was necessary to preserve the woman involved from serious danger to her life or physical or mental health which the continuance of pregnancy would entail” (R v Wald 1971).
There are two types of abortion available in Australia:MedicalA medical abortion is performed up to nine weeks from the first day of a woman’s last period.SurgicalA surgical abortion is usually carried out between 7-12 weeks from the first day of a woman’s last period. In NSW, services for abortion are available up to 18-20 weeks of pregnancy.Abortions must be carried out by a registered doctor and are available through clinics and public or private hospitals.
Combination of Medicare data, public hospital morbidity data, and private health insurance claims gives estimates on abortion clients. The 2005 estimate found that 83 210 induced abortions were performed in a year, with women aged 20-29 years the most likely to present for abortion .The resulting estimated abortion rate in Australia was about 19.7 per 1000 women aged 15-44 , which is relatively high when compared with other countries where abortion is legal and easier to access. Germany and the Netherlands both had abortion rates less than half that of Australia’s.Both countries have easily accessible contraception and abortion services as well as comprehensive sex education.Relevant Terminology FetusAn unborn or unhatched offspring of a mammal, in particular an unborn human more than eight weeks after conception.
EmbrioAn unborn or unhatched offspring in the process of development, in particular a human offspring during the period from approximately the second to the eighth week after fertilization (after which it is usually termed a fetus).TerminationA termination (or abortion) is the medical process of ending a pregnancy so it does not result in the birth of a baby. Depending on how many weeks you have been pregnant, the pregnancy is ended either by taking medication or by having a surgical procedure.ContraceptionThe deliberate use of artificial methods or other techniques to prevent pregnancy as a consequence of sexual intercourse.
The major forms of artificial contraception are barrier methods such as Condoms, contraceptive pill and coil. PregnancyThe state of having a child or other offspring developing in the body; with child or young, as a woman or female mammal.Fertility The state of bearing or capable of bearing offspring.Right to Choose The moral or legal entitlement of a pregnant woman to make the full and final decision either to give birth to her child or to abort the fetus.Abortion ClinicAn abortion clinic is a medical facility that provides abortions/terminations.WoomSacred Text ReferencesGod’s relationship with pre-birth mankindJeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”Psalm 22:10 “From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
“All aspects of life are considered to be the result of GodGenesis 1:27 “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Isaiah 49:15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!Job 31:15 “Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one from us both within our mothers?”The fifth CommandmentEssentially, few christians can ignore the simple clarity and directness of God’s 5th commandment of “Thou shalt not kill”.Ruling out the act of Abortion being considered morally right (Exodus 20:13)However this is not universally believed by all Christians like all moral decisions. Church/Christian Teachings TeachingsThere is no specific instruction given by God about the issue of abortion in the bible, so what Christians believe about it must be based on interpreting passages which speak about the sanctity of life.This has lead to a split debate between Christian.A majority of Churches within the Christian faith believe Abortion to be a “Mortal sin”.
A sin committed in the full knowledge that it is wrong and one that may result in eternal separation from God. HOWEVER, the Catholic Church states “Human life must be respected and protected from the moment of conception”. Catholic beliefs are based on the assumption of Natural Law. Belief that good has setup the world and that it is wrong for humans to interface with this.
Abortions are considered morally wrong because they interface the natural process of new life entering the world. Catholics believe that human life is sacred from the moment of conception until death. (Donum Vitae, 1987)Christians generally believe that life is special and sacred that human have a soul and the opportunity to have a relationship with God.”Humans have been created in God’s image” (genesis 1:27)Which means humans have certain characteristics that God would have.God’s value of life is demonstrated when Jesus died for mankind’s(our) sins.
Although most Christians believe abortion is Mortal sin, some denominations have slightly softer stances and argue that although is never a positive thing, in some circumstances it is necessary for a Mothers health, extreme foetal disabilities and other issues. More Liberal Churches will push compassion and love rather than on blame and judgement on abortion. According to a 2002 survey conducted by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, 28% of fundamentalists thought abortion should be illegal even if there was a strong chance of birth defects whereas only nine percent of mainline Protestants held the same opinion.Non-Religious and Religious opinions are significantly split. Natural LawIt presupposes that all humans are created with the ability to know what is right and wrong.It suggests that if it is not followed, the perpetrator will destroy him or herself.Schools of ethics in western philosophy can be divided, very roughly, into three sorts. The first, drawing on the work of Aristotle, holds that the virtues (such as justice, charity & generosity) are dispositions to act in ways that benefit both the person possessing them and that person’s society.
Natural Law – Scriptural Basis “They show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even defend them” (Romans 2:15)Schools of ethics in western philosophyAristotleAristotle’s 4 Cardinal virtuesPrudenceAristotle defined prudence as recta ratio agibilium, “right reason applied to practice.”JusticeFr. John A. Hardon notes in his Modern Catholic Dictionary, it is “the constant and permanent determination to give everyone his or her rightful due.”FortitudeFortitude allows us to overcome fear and to remain steady in our will in the face of obstacles, but it is always reasoned and reasonable; the person exercising fortitude does not seek danger for danger’s sake.TemperanceWhile fortitude is concerned with the restraint of fear so that we can act, temperance is the restraint of our desires or passions.
Applying Abortion to Aristotle’s 4 Cardinal virtues would suggest that abortion is not ethical. Prudence = Depending on the circumstances of the abortion would depend on whether it is for the right reasons. If circumstances endanger the mother or unconstitutional sex was the result of the conception it would be considered a right reason. However, an abortion that occurs due to the child being unwanted would be considered not the right reason. Justice = It would be seen that justice would be applied by the Woman choosing what happen to their own body. Fortitude = Despite, this Fortitude would allow people to have abortions as it would be considered being the brave thing to do. Temperance = Although, temperance allows overcoming desires the same logic would be applied to this as Prudence. If circumstances endanger the mother or unconstitutional sex was the result of the conception it would be considered a right reason.
However, an abortion that occurs due to the child being unwanted would be considered not the right reason. Deontology (Defined by Kant)Deontology = The Concept of duty central to morality. Knowledge of their duty as rational beings. The morality of an action is based on rules. Rule based ethics. Applying Abortion to Deontology.
Kant stated that there are 3 states in which abortion is deemed acceptable:Pregnancy resulting from rape.Therapeutic abortionUnwanted pregnancy even though contraceptive methods were used.Kant argued that destroying the whom is apart of individuals rationality in service to something else – pain.
Deontology understands that dealing with families and heterosexual couples in which partners are “educated” from a sexual point of view, it will lead to a confused rationality. Utilitarianism (The Greatest Happiness Principle)Utilitarianism = The guiding principle of conduct should be the greatest happiness or benefit of the greatest number.Applying Utilitarianism to Abortion Utilitarianism, of the hedonistic variety, is (we may recall) concerned only with pleasure and with pain. It’s concerned with the amounts of pleasure and pain in situations where abortion is permitted as contrasted with the amounts of pleasure and pain where abortion is forbidden.
It might be suggested that the main consideration would be the interests of the fetus: not only can its future life be expectedly happy, or at least having a balance of happiness over suffering it might also be the case that the abortion itself is painful, particularly if it occurs later in the pregnancy.Individual Conscience