Euthanasia (literally gentle and easy death) is the deliberate ending of the life of someone who is suffering, in the belief that the person would be better off dead. If the person himself asks for euthanasia to be carried out, it is known as voluntary euthanasia. Allowing to Die or Choosing Death.
” Thou must not kill but need not strive officially to keep alive.”
Is Euthanasia Morally Right or Wrong?
Choosing Death. This may be held to apply in three situations.
(a) Ceasing to prolong life artificially. Many would not call this euthanasia but would refer to it as responsible medical treatment, which allows a person to die in comfort and with dignity.
(b) Relief of pain. Many people fear a painful illness at the end of their lives. Modern drugs can now to a very great extent control pain. Some drugs given to ease pain may also shorten life. This is not euthanasia – the drugs are given to improve the quality of the life, which is left, not with a view to ending it.
(c) True euthanasia is a deliberate decision to end life.
Rules/Law. Since 1961 in Britain suicide has not been a criminal offence. (e.g. before that date a failed suicide attempt could result in prosecution.) However, assisted suicide is a criminal offence.
The Voluntary Euthanasia Society wants the law changed so that it would be possible to ” kill them painlessly, if they ask you to.”
THE CHRISTIAN VIEW. God gives life and it is in the hands of God when that life ends. Any act of self- destruction is usurping the place of God. Psalm 139 v13-16. Exodus ch 20 v 13. Even close to death, it is possible to choose the best quality of life available. This is the philosophy of the hospice movement. The dying person is loved, cared for and made to feel needed. Pain is carefully controlled. This life is only a brief period on the way to eternity. Salvation is guaranteed only by submitting to Christ in faith. This can happen right up to the moment of death. A person should not be denied that opportunity. Christianity also teaches that in all situations God is there to help and comfort those who trust in Him. Job ch 3 v 15. 2 Corinthians ch 12 v 8-10. Romans ch 8 v 18.
All suffering is caused by sin and humans have to face up to their responsibilities. They have brought this on themselves. They ought to be making the focus of their lives to eradicate the source of disease – sin. God allows suffering in order to forge character. Men are invited to welcome trials and difficulties. 1 Pet ch 1 v 6.
THE HUMANIST VIEW. “Exit” was founded in 1935 under the Presidency of Lord Moynihan, a past president of the Royal College of Surgeons. It aims to bring about a change in the law so that an adult person, suffering from a severe illness from which there is no relief known, should be entitled by law to the mercy of a painless death, if and only if, that is his or her expressed wish. The Society is very clear that it is not in favour of suicide as such: it is also definitely against any suggestion of compulsory euthanasia in the sense of “getting rid” of the old, infirm, unwanted, deformed or mentally defective person. The Society urges that the law should allow, but not compel, doctors to help incurable patients to die peacefully at their own request. The patient must have signed, at least 30 days previously, a declaration making his request known. The declaration would be independently witnessed by two people, unrelated to the patient or to each other, who would not stand to gain by the death of the patient. The patient could revoke the declaration at any time. Two doctors, one a consultant, would also have to certify that the patient was suffering, without reasonable prospect of recovery, from a physical illness, which he found intolerable. Those promoting euthanasia want to make killing no longer a punishable offence. They want patients to have the legal right to demand that their doctor kills them. They want to have living wills – a declaration in advance of what kind of treatment they should receive, if they become incapacitated through accident or illness.
“Good” results would seem to include:
The suffering of a person close to death is cut short.
The quality of life is preserved right to the end.
“Bad” results would seem to be:
Pressure from friends or relatives. In 1969 Lady Summerskill said in the House of Lords: “There
would undoubtedly be someone to remind the invalid of his powers over his own disposal.”
People may make the decision while depressed and under pressure from friends or relatives vulnerable people may feel pressure to be put out of the road, since they have little to contribute to society. Arguments for such legislation are generally based on arguments about competent individuals’ rights to choose the manner of their demise. Although society respects and upholds the principle of patient involvement in treatment, especially in cases of terminal physical illness, there are limits to what patients can choose when their choice will inevitably impact on other people and on society at large.
It leads to patients choosing euthanasia over other healthcare options, if they feel themselves to be
burdensome to others or concerned, for example, about the financial implications for their families of
a long terminal illness.
There is no guarantee that euthanasia would remain voluntary.
In some cases “terminal” patients have made surprising recoveries. It denies the power of God to heal. It is difficult to predict how long a person will live, since that power belongs to God alone. God is the creator of life and He alone has the power to take away the gift He has given.
It undermines (a) the basic belief that the doctor has made a full commitment to save and preserve life and the confidence that the doctor can be fully trusted. When might the doctor change his loyalty from preserving the life of his patient to the patient’s family, the state or his own profitability? and (b) the confidence of the patient and the family that the doctor can be fully trusted. It fundamentally alters the ethos of the medical profession.
Where the death is not natural, problems of guilt and remorse arise.
It undermines the trust that vulnerable, elderly, disabled or very ill patients have in the health care system.
It opens the door for challenging the benefits to society of those less able to contribute to society, e.g. the handicapped and mentally disturbed. Where does society draw the line? Rules passed for humanitarian reasons may be used as an instrument of Government policy for social or eugenic control. The Nazis used this policy to exterminate 6 million Jewish and other people in World War II. When might a government change its policy to put the interests of the state ahead of the interests of the individual? Communism did just that and millions died as a result.
To allow euthanasia is to state that some people’s lives are not worth living. All the penalties in place are designed to protect and preserve life. It would encourage a value system by which the lives of people are judged on the basis of a physical condition and mental capacity rather than on a spiritual basis or on the basis of intrinsic worth. This opens the door for the state to terminate life for the mentally handicapped, deformed people, unemployed people and the elderly – anyone who does not make a contribution to society – in the interests of the state. Who will make the decision? When might a government change its policy to put the interests of the state ahead of the interests of the individual? Communism did just that and millions died as a result.
Does this open the door to Suicide – the right of a person to take his own life? It leads to pressure on all seriously ill people to consider ending their life, even if they would not otherwise entertain such an idea. Suicide is an act of utter rebellion. Does it open the door to others to assist in a person committing suicide?
Decisions may be made on erroneous medical information. Doctors make mistakes. After death it would be impossible to prove whether the death was out of choice or compulsion.
Euthanasia goes against all of the social order, which seeks to preserve life. Ambulances have to be there within certain time limits. Doctors are criticised if they are late in treating patients. Drivers are punished, if they kill though carelessness. Many laws are passed to protect and preserve life.
It puts pressure on doctors to terminate life, if society states that in certain circumstances the quality of life is not worth preserving.
There would be less motivation to find cures for serious illness.
It allows pressure on family members – especially in-laws – to seek a termination in order to gain access to the finances of the elderly. There are already laws against applying undue pressure on the elderly in regard to making their wills.
It weakens society’s prohibition on intentional killing and threatens safeguards against non-voluntary euthanasia of people who are both seriously ill and mentally incapacitated;
SUICIDE. It is never an option for a Christian. God gives life and, since it is His gift, it is not man’s right to take it away. Believers are the temple of the Holy Spirit. In that sense it is a total affront to God to take life. Man did not give himself life and cannot take it away. Believers are not promised an easy life. Sin makes it difficult. For some it is more difficult than others. God can turn darkness into light. Anything is possible for God. On the other hand there may be times when, during torture, a believer is driven out of his right mind. Satanic pressures will come to suggest that the easy way out is suicide. In that situation, suicide is not rebellion against God. Martyrs did not choose to die. The State killed them. Jesus committed suicide for all men in one sense in that He willingly laid His life down for them. At the same time there were people wanting Him to die and He let them kill Him. However, Jesus knew that He could take His life up again. There is a difference between suicide and sacrifice. Mostly people fight to preserve their life, ambulances, doctors, health programmes, legislation and social workers. When there is an unnatural event, it is right to look to see if there is a spiritual power at work. It is common for a spirit of suicide to take possession of someone who is depressed. The evil spirit requires fertile ground in which to work – like depression.
When does life begin? What rights does a foetus have?
The medical profession and the politicians are seeking to balance the rights of mothers and babies. Where are they to draw the line? There is an attempt to find a moral framework acceptable to as many people as possible. The law represents the public conscience. In accordance with the law it is lawful (a) to save the life of the mother (b) to help the health of the mother and (c) to terminate the life, if the foetus was likely to be born handicapped. Since medical expertise is increasing, there are changes from time to time.
Many medical men take the view that until the fertilised egg is implanted in the womb there is no such thing as “human life.” To avoid a definite point of life there is talk of “increasing humanity.” This is gloriously vague. What does the Bible have to say about the start of life?
Jeremiah ch 1 v 5. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” This suggests that God, when He gave the spirit to the child, knew the “person.”
Eccles ch 11 v 5. “The manner in which a human spirit is infused into the little body of a baby while it is yet in its mother’s womb.” God does not say exactly when that happens, but it is clearly before birth.
Luke ch 1 v 41 and ch 2 v 21. Elizabeth’s child leaped within her at the sound of Mary’s voice.
Isaiah ch 44 v 2 and ch 49 v 1-5. “From within the womb the Lord called me by my name.”
Psalm 51 v 5. “I was born a sinner from the moment my mother conceived me.”
Psalm 22 v 10. “You brought me safely from my mother’s womb.”
Psalm 139 v 13. “You knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
Eccles ch 12 v 7. “The spirit returns to God who gave it.”
Psalm 139 v 15. “You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion.” v 16. “You saw me before I began to breathe.”
The first country to adopt wholesale abortion was Stalin’s Soviet Union, where 30 million adults were murdered in horrific circumstances. Is this a coincidence? When Herod slaughtered hundreds of innocent babies around Bethlehem, the wailing was heard far and wide. Mat ch 2 v 18. A far more extensive culling of humanity is happening in Britain.
1. Abortion affects the man as well as the woman. Guilt and failure to act responsibly can have long- term consequences. If a man walks away from his responsibilities, he may find it difficult to make a lasting relationship with another woman. Medical experts confirm that an abortion brings with it an increased risk of a future miscarriage and the difficulty of conceiving in the future. It may be a factor in increasing infertility.
2. It is a fact that many women are left with serious emotional problems of guilt, fear, depression and loneliness. Those who counsel women testify to these consequences.
3. The word “foetus” in Latin means young one or offspring. It is natural for a woman to speak of a baby in the womb as a living person – she feels the movement. The idea that it is a thing to be disposed of until the date of birth is unnatural. No doctor asks a pregnant woman how her “foetus” is. He asks her how her “baby” is.
4. It is a privilege afforded by God to mankind to allow human beings to take part in the reproduction of our own kind. Eccles ch 11v 5. Man has the responsibility to look after this gift and to account to God for it. There is a duty to love and protect the offspring of the marriage.
5. When does life begin? God knows. Jer ch 1 v 5. Psalm 139 v 15-16.
6. Man constantly attempts to form a moral code apart from the Bible. Everyone does what is right in his own eyes. Judges ch 21 v 25.
7. The reason why Israel was ejected from the Promised Land was the sin of Manasseh – child sacrifice to the god Molech or Milcom the god of the Ammonites. Jer ch 15 v 4. Abortion is sacrificing the children to the goddess of sex – wanting to have sexual relationships and experiences without the responsibility of looking after the offspring of the relationship. King Manasseh introduced the burning of children to the god Molech. 2 Kings ch 6 v 6. He burned his own son as an offering to Molech. Worship of him involved human sacrifice, usually of children. Its image was a hollow brazen figure, with the head of an ox and outstretched human arms. It was heated red-hot by a fire from within and the little ones placed in its arms to be slowly burned. To prevent the parents hearing the dying cries of the child the priests beat loudly on drums.
8. 25 % of all total abortions are for women under 20. Only 2% of abortions are for foetal abnormality. Only 0.003 % of abortions are because the life of the mother was threatened. The rights of the foetus and the mother have to be balanced. Whereas the mother had a choice to conceive, the foetus had no such choice. The rights can never to totally reconciled, despite all attempts to draw a line to find the middle ground.
9. Leviticus ch 18 places child sacrifice firmly in the context of aberrant sexual behaviour. It is in the same category as adultery, homosexuality and bestiality. Breaking God’s laws in these matters defiles society and leads to judgement of that society. It gives the enemy a foothold in society and lays guilt and shame on the society.
10. The thrust of the Abortion Act in 1967 was that every child should be a wanted child. Child abuse is now so great that there are not enough social workers in Britain.
11. One of the most dangerous places to be is in the womb. There is no one to defend the young child, if his parents decide to end his life. There are howls of protest when parents neglect their children yet no one protests when they kill their children before birth.
12. There is a deep instinct in a man to protect women and children. An abortion can undermine a man’s confidence in himself and he may come to think of himself as a failure as a father and as a man.
13. Children can hear, taste and smell before birth. There needs to be a breaking of the soul tie with
the aborted child. Then the child’s spirit should be committed to Jesus.
14. Is it right to determine the value of an unborn child on the basis of whether it is wanted or not? Does this open the door to killing all those people who are not wanted in society? That was the decision of the Nazis.