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Euthanasia - Essay Example

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Specifically, euthanasia has been defined as, “a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering" (Harris 2001, p. 70). Globally there are a variety of legal perspectives on euthanasia. In these regards one considers the nature of voluntary and non-voluntary euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia, when the act occurs with the willful consent of the patient, is permitted in some countries. Conversely, involuntary euthanasia is globally prohibited. The last two decades have experienced tremendous controversy over euthanasia as individuals such as Dr. Jack Kevorkian popularized the practice, gaining significant media attention in the process; still, one must note that even as Kevorkian gained some mainstream acceptance, he was ultimately convicted for his actions. While legal considerations of euthanasia are a major concern, of late ethical concerns have most prominently dominated the collective discussion. This essay examines ethical concerns within secular and catholic perspectives. While Catholic doctrine spans a wide array of considerations, one of the most comprehensive perspectives exists in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Part 3, section 2 of the catechism addresses many considerations related to euthanasia. One considers that the Ten Commandments is a foundational doctrine not simply of the Catholic Church, but of the Christian faith. ...
The catechism states, "Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being" ("Vatican VA"). One considers that this passage more accurately stands against the act of euthanasia. Rather than simply prohibiting the act of murder this consideration extends the notion to include life as sacred from beginning to end, and granting God specific domain over life decisions. The preceding examples demonstrate that Catholic doctrine prohibits acts related to euthanasia. Still, individuals have argued that the nature of euthanasia – delivering one from their suffering – would be in line with the general mode of Christian thought. Further analytic consideration has been given to this counter-argument. While delivering an individual from suffering would seemingly be viewed as a positive step, it has been argued that Jesus suffering on the cross is positioned within the New Testament and larger Christian faith as a necessary aspect of life. In these regards, the suffering resulted in the forgiving of humanities sins. On a broader symbolic level it represents that oftentimes-suffering functions as a means of developing character or for ultimately positive reasons (Pavone). While the Catholic perspective on euthanasia strictly forbids its occurrence, there is a variety differing secular perspectives. In the realm of medical ethics one of the prominent ethical approaches is that of natural law. Natural law as established in Greek antiquity states that, “man should live life ...Show more

Summary

Euthanasia is recognized as the act of voluntarily taking one’s life. While in pure technical terms the act of euthanasia is a form of suicide, in practice it is generally associated with individuals facing end of life issues that choose euthanasia as a means of escaping pain and suffering associated with their condition. …
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