S: Euthanasia & Abortion
BC: Thanks for listening... By Nichola and Flora
FC: Medical Ethics Abortion & Euthanasia
1: Introduction In this piece we will be discussing medical ethics on Euthanasia and Abortion. We will be particularly looking at views from Christian and Roman Catholic communities and how their religion effects their opinions. We will include stories on both topics and our own opinions to counter balance the arguments for each topic.
2: Euthanasia - Dictionary meaning: (form Greek origin) Good death. Refers to the practice of ending a life in a painless manner and with dignity. •- In most cases euthanasia is carried out because the person who dies asks for it, but there are cases called euthanasia where a person can't make such a request. •- There are only three places on earth where Euthanasia is legal, Belgium, Netherlands and Oregon.
3: History of Euthanasia About 400 B.C. - The Hippocratic Oath (By the "Father of Medicine' Greek physician Hippocrates) "I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel." Despite this, the ancient Greeks and Romans generally did not believe that life needed to be preserved at any cost and were, in consequence, tolerant of suicide in cases where no relief could be offered to the dying or, in the case of the Stoics and Epicureans, where a person no longer cared for his life. English Common Law from the 1300s until the middle of the last century made suicide a criminal act in England and Wales. Assisting others to kill themselves remains illegal in that jurisdiction. The first major effort to legalize euthanasia in the United States arose as part of the eugenics movement in the early years of the twentieth century
4: How is Euthanasia seen by Religious Communities, particularly Christianity? | Most religions say that Euthanasia should be seen as a form of criminal activity and that the offenders should be treated according to this, because they believe that god is the creator of all things living and that he/she is the only being that should have the power and the right to take away a life. These religions include Islam, Roman Catholic, Hinduism and some areas of the Protestant community.. Suicide isn't written about in holy Books very often however there are religious stories about suicude and the sanctity of life ..
5: In Particular, what is the view of Euthanasia within Christianity | Christians believe that all human life is special and sacred, and for this reason they consider it wrong to take the life of another person.. Roman Catholic Christians are very consise in the way they state their religious regulations. On matters such as abortion, they are sure about what they believe and what they think is unacceptable. In the case of Euthanasia, like many other religions, it states in the bible that life is given to you by the creator, god, and that he/she are the only being with the right to take it away.. Also, The fifth commandment explicitly says that is it wrong to kill, and as such seems to rule out any act of euthanasia being deemed morally right
6: However, Protestants Christians are slightly more lose on what they belive in. Although they are from the same religion as Catholic Christianity, they follow their reliogion less closely to the bible and are often swayed by their family and friend's opinions. Generally, Protestants find passive Euthanasia acceptable because it means that the victim is given a choice. However, like Catholics, Protestants find Euthanasia without the conscent of the victim unacceptable. When we compare we can see a simalarity between the two types of Christianity. Both think that if Euthanasia was abused, then it would have awful results and that god is the only being to give life. However when it comes to the details of wether a person should have a choice in the matter, opions of different parts of the Christian society begin to show.
7: My Opinion I personally think that Euthanasia can be a very complicated subject, however if a person feels that their life is worse being alive than dead then what is the point in life? Life is lived to be enjoyed and every person earns their right to have a full and happy life. I am not religious and therefore don't believe in god so i think that after a person passes a certain age they should be allowed to do what the believe to be right with their life. Life belongs to the individual.
8: In 1990 Terri Schiavo suffered from a heart attack, which left her brain damaged and totally unable to take care of herself. After 13 years and with few signs or hope of recovery, Terri’s husband was granted the right to remove Terri’s feeding tube and ultimately sign off her death warrant.. Schiavo’s husband believed that Terri’s quality of life was non existent and claimed that Terri wouldn’t have wanted to have live in that state. The major debate is whether life can be measured in a quantifiable aspect. For 13 years Terri did not leave her bed and her husband fought against her family to have her feeding tube removed and let Terri die quickly. Terri’s parents believed that she was still well and truly alive. The ethical battle between these two parties started. The leading steps to this much struggled and sought out debate are rather horrifying and cruel since Terri was twice granted the right to death, starved for a few days and then hooked back onto life support at her parents will. | The Story of Terri Schiavo | In 1990 Terri Schiavo suffered from a heart attack, which left her brain damaged and totally unable to take care of herself. After 13 years and with few signs or hope of recovery, Terri’s husband was granted the right to remove Terri’s feeding tube and ultimately sign off her death warrant.. Schiavo’s husband believed that Terri’s quality of life was non existent and claimed that Terri wouldn’t have wanted to have live in that state. The major debate is whether life can be measured in a quantifiable aspect. For 13 years Terri did not leave her bed and her husband fought against her family to have her feeding tube removed and let Terri die quickly. Terri’s parents believed that she was still well and truly alive. The ethical battle between these two parties started. The leading steps to this much struggled and sought out debate are rather horrifying and cruel since Terri was twice granted the right to death, starved for a few days and then hooked back onto life support at her parents will. | The Story of Terri Schiavo
9: In June 2003, Shiavo’s husband won the right to have Terri’s tube removed but after President Bush’s interference (pushed forth by popular support against Terri’s death) the tube was re-instated. Terri’s tube was eventually removed (for the third time) and thirteen days later she died of dehydration. However this is not death by voluntary euthanasia, as she was not ‘killed’ but rather taken off medical support. To be taken off medical support is already a legal act; however advocates of euthanasia fought to give Terri the right to terminate her life in a peaceful manner. Had euthanasia been legal Terri could have died instantly rather than by an almost two weeks of dehydration and starvation. Terri’s case has lead pro-euthanasia activists one step closer to achieving the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia. | In June 2003, Shiavo’s husband won the right to have Terri’s tube removed but after President Bush’s interference (pushed forth by popular support against Terri’s death) the tube was re-instated. Terri’s tube was eventually removed (for the third time) and thirteen days later she died of dehydration. However this is not death by voluntary euthanasia, as she was not ‘killed’ but rather taken off medical support. To be taken off medical support is already a legal act; however advocates of euthanasia fought to give Terri the right to terminate her life in a peaceful manner. Had euthanasia been legal Terri could have died instantly rather than by an almost two weeks of dehydration and starvation. Terri’s case has lead pro-euthanasia activists one step closer to achieving the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia.
10: Abortion Abortion means ending a pregnancy so that it does not result in the birth of a child. Its is legal in England until the fetus is 24 weeks & is not legal in any parts of Ireland. You can only terminate a pregnancy witht he permission of two doctors. If one of the two does not believe in abortion in any case, he/she is allowed to have their opinion, but by law must refer you to another doctor. Note that the stage of pregnancy is calculated from the first day of the woman's last period. Your doctor must then refer you to a clinic with a valid reason for terminating the pregnancy.
11: In England, Wales and Scotland abortion is legal under 24 weeks of pregnancy if two doctors agree that it is necessary for one of the following reasons: having the baby would harm the woman's mental or physical health more than having the abortion. This involves the woman explaining how she feels about the pregnancy to a doctor. having the baby would harm the mental or physical health of any children she already has. An abortion is also legal at any time in pregnancy if two doctors agree that: the abortion is necessary to save the woman's life or prevent serious permanent harm to her mental or physical health, or there is a high risk that the baby would be seriously handicapped.
12: Everyone has their own opinion on abortion.. Some believe that a fetous is a child from the moment of contreception & has the same rights as a child. Others say that the fetous is not a baby until it is fully developed & many believe that the fetous is not a child until it is born. | To the left is an 8 week old fetous.
13: Roman Catholics are very strict on abortion & say that only god has the right to take away anothers life. They state that a fetous is once of gods creations & is a baby from the moment of contreception. Although some Christians are not as strict on the subject & have some allowances. | Baby bump.
14: In lessons we have debated on whethere we believe abortion is right or wrong, some individuals have very strong opinions & others (like my self) believe that it is the mothers choice. and it is not of my business or any one else's. Fathers have no rights over unborn fetous' which may cause problems within family if the father wishes to keep the baby. Girls under the age of 16 can have an abortion on the NHS with the consent of a doctor, they do not need a perants permission as long as they understand the medical issues involved & are in a fit state to give consent to the termination.
15: There stories.! Researching abortion i found many sites containing womens experiences & stories. Some women were happy about their decision & had continued their life as normal, others regreted it & live with emotional & physical hatred. Some womens opinions on abortion changed after finiding they themselfes were pregnant & wished to terminate the pregnancy. On the next page are some of their stories on abortion. Some of which may change your view.
16: I am a 23 year old mother to 3 little girls. I had my termination in April 1997. I've always been anti abortion to some extent but had an extremely heartbreaking decision to make. I fell for the wrong guy, we had been dating for 2 weeks and I fell preg. He was really obsessed with having his own baby girl. Kinda psyco I thought, well to cut a long story short, he took over me when I was pregnant and I couldn't take it anymore. I had another daughter to care for and I broke up with him. He started saying he would steal the baby from me. And his parents had seen a solicitor for custody and served me upcomming custody battle papers.
17: This poor little baby was just a micro dot in my belly and the trouble about it already! He stalked me and I was terrified for my life and the little baby inside me. I got really attached to her and was quite excited and even bought baby clothes. By 10 weeks I couldn't take his abuse anymore and sought advice from my mother and grandmother, who wrote down the pros and cons of having this baby. Well it was obvious I couldn't bring this little thing into the world with this terrible person. And I'd be damned if he was going to have any visiting rights to my precious baby.
18: I cried for 2 days as I made my decision, I didn't want to have an abortion but there seemed no way out. I traveled from QLD to NSW to have the abortion and the night before I held my tummy and talked to the little baby saying how sorry I was and it was for the best. I sat silently all the way to the clinic, scared and absolutely heartbroken. My mum and grandma kept telling me I could always change my mind and go back home. But I thought of what this baby would have to put up with?! He was psyco.
19: I'm sure he would hurt me or the baby if I didn't hand the baby to him. And he even ordered he be there when she is born. One night I punched myself in the stomach numerous times and wished she'd go away so I wouldn't have to end it with an abortion. I remember the room where they do the procedure had a funny smell and, not at all a nice feeling all around. I couldn't bare to look at the scan and they said, "yep you are about 11 weeks." then my mum and grandma held my hand all the way until everything went black
20: And I woke up feeling empty and bleeding like I'd just given birth. I couldn't believe I wasn't pregnant anymore. It's like it just vanishes from you and you can't get it back. I felt robbed and hurting inside, I just wanted to scream and I had a huge ache in my heart. I didn't speak for 3 days, just curled into bed and cried. I wanted my baby back. All I could think about was if she was cold or wanting her mummy and this is morbid and disgusting but I had nightmares of all these babies in a big bucket in bits and pieces and she was in there too.
21: When I left NSW I felt like I left something behind and didn't want to go back home. When I got home I hated myself so much I drank and took drugs until one night I wanted to end my miserable life so I slit my wrist and nearly died. Three weeks in a mental home to recover and I learned to forgive myself for what I'd done. And as a catholic I'm wondering what lies ahead for me the day I die. Will I be punished for this? I still regret my decision and would never do that again. Well this is my story, thanks for listening....... Belinda
22: I am 16 years old. About two weeks ago I went in for an abortion. When the procedure was all over with, the doctor said I needed to schedule a two week check up appointment with another doctor. So I did, and when I went in, the doctor came back and said "You say you had an abortion two weeks ago?" I said of course and then she informed me that my urine test showed a very positive pregnancy. I was in shock. She said that it may just be tissue in my uterus and that I needed to go and get a ultrasound the next day to find out.
23: So I went and when I saw the sonogram, I was amazed at what I saw. I saw a ten week old baby, moving it's fingers and turning all around. My abortion did not get rid of anything, and the doctor that performed my sonogram said that I had a healthy, uninterrupted ten week old fetus. I also saw it's beating heart. I am now keeping my baby. The whole time that I thought about what to do, I prayed that god would do his will, and here it is, right inside my tummy. Thanks for your time in reading. Angela