Senior RE: Euthanasia for teachers

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Euthanasia is:

– the deliberate ending of a person’s life in order to relieve suffering. In cases of Euthanasia, death is seen as a benefit to the person.

– any action or omission of what is normally necessary to sustain life that leads to the death of a person in order to relieve suffering

 

There are different types of euthanasia;

1) Active Euthanasia: action that will cause or accelerate death (e.g. a drug overdose, poisoning, etc)

2) Direct / positive: intentionally ending a person’s life by an act of commission.

3) Voluntary: performed on persons who give voluntary consent.

4) Non voluntary: performed on persons who are not capable of giving voluntary consent.

5) Involuntary: performed on persons who refuse to give voluntary consent.

6) Passive Euthanasia: to do nothing that will preserve life

 

Arguments for Euthanasia

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  • Principle of Autonomy (i.e. that a person has a right to decide for themselves). According to Fletcher, “Death control, like birth control, is a matter of human dignity. Without it persons become puppets.”

 

  • Principle of Justice – Breach of Natural Justice – no one should suffer needlessly. People who have debilitating conditions are forced to travel to other countries to avail of the services – justice of accepting the values of others.

 

  • Loss of Dignity – A patient maintaining control over their own life, including when to end it. Minimising suffering is a morally justified action.

 

  • Quality of life – Biological life vs. Personal life (e.g. if you are in a vegetative state you are biologically alive, but are you personally alive?)

 

  • Minimising Suffering

 

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Arguments Against Euthanasia

  • The intrinsic value of human life (i.e. Life is good)

 

  • Autonomy gone wrong! (Yes it protects your right to choose what happens to you, but to be an autonomous being is to be a moral being.) “Autonomy is not absolute. We are not morally justified in doing something simply because we wish to do it.” Irish Bishop’s Committee on Bioethics; End of Life Care: Ethics and Pastoral Issues.

 

  • New advancements in pain management and control

 

  • The purpose of healthcare is to end suffering, not life.

 

  • Discrimination

 

  • Vulnerability

 

  • If Euthanasia is allowed, we are effectively saying “Some lives are not worth living.”

 

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Catholic Church Teaching on Euthanasia

  • Life has absolute value, we need to do everything we can to keep people alive

 

  • Only a certain quality of life should be preserved.

 

  • Human life is sacred, but there is an acceptance of death.
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