26 April 2018
Euthanasia/ Assisted Suicide
What does it mean to have respect for life? The Catholic church proclaims that, “human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society” (“Life and Dignity of the Human Person.” ). This short statement holds a significant amount of truths and beliefs that are the foundations of living a Catholic lifestyle. In contrary, the church also states that “In our society, human life is under direct attack” (“Life and Dignity of the Human Person.” ). This means that although we believe everyone should participate in this idea of respect for life, there are things that counteract it. Abortion, domestic violence, human trafficking, stem cell research and human cloning are just a few of the ways human life is being attacked. One specific topic that is becoming more popular and more destructive everyday is euthanasia and physician assisted suicide.
Euthanasia can be defined as “the act of causing or permitting the death of sick individuals to eliminate suffering” (“Religions - Christianity: Euthanasia.”). Physician assisted suicide is similar in that it allows the death of an individual to eliminate suffering however, it is done with the help of a physician. Both of these acts are not acceptable under the Catholic church because they do not show respect for life. Evangelium Vitae, Gospel of Life (1995), states specifically “Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; ..all these things and others like them are infamies indeed”. It also says “they poison human society, and they do more harm to those who practise them than to those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonour to the Creator”. Based on this statement one can understand that these acts do not do any good in society because they do not follow the belief that “human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society”.
As shown above, the church is against these acts, and although a shock to most, so is the medical profession. The American Medical Association holds that, “physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician's role as healer” (“What's at Stake?”). The AMA, along with the American Nurses Association, American Psychiatric Association and dozens of other medical groups, even suggested to the Supreme Court in 1997 to uphold laws against assisted suicide. They argued that the power to assist in taking patients’ lives is “a power that most health care professionals do not want and could not control” ( “What's at Stake?”). Even with this proclamation from the medical field there are still six states that have legalized the act...