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What are your opinions, religious or otherwise, on assisted suicide?

I have to write a fairly large paper on this subject, and wanted to get some input from what promises to be a diverse group of people. So far, Oregon is the only state that has a law that permits assisted suicide, called the "Death With Dignity" act. My question is, how do you personally feel about it? That is, if somebody is terminally ill, with no hope of recovery, and has lost control of their body and every other aspect of their life, do you see any harm in them deciding to end their life on their own terms? Should they have to suffer until they die a "natural" death or is it morally permissible for them to decide when they go, when the rest of their life is going to be filled with pain and agony? I would really like some thought put into your answers, since "The bible says that suicide is wrong" is not going to help me understand the actual opinions and views of a sample of the public. Thank you all!!

Update:

Skaggy...yes, I realized this. While we are all going to die, the process doesn't have to be drawn out, painful, and undignified.

Update 2:

Balaam, I couldn't agree more. I am an atheist myself, and you summed up my position on this perfectly.

Update 3:

Roy K, I know that in Oregon, the fact that a person is terminally ill and within 6 months of death has to be established by more than one doctor, and it also has to be ascertained that the person is completely mentally competent. When the person decides that they want to end their life, their doctor writes them a prescription for the barbiturates that will cause them to die, and the doctor, along with whatever family members the patient wants to be present, are all there when the patient consumes the drugs. Death is painless and occurs within minutes, if not seconds.

16 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I have a very strong opinion on this, so please forgive me if I get...overzealous, with my answer.

    I firmly, and devoutly, believe in the right of an individual to end their own life or have it ended for them per living will.. Not just in cases of terminal illness, but also in cases of indefinite vegetative states, in cases of sever loss of brain function and/or degenerative cognizant states etc.

    Basically, if you are losing control of body OR mind I believe you have the right to die. Why? Or how do I view this religiously?

    It is very easy to say "it's a sin" or "it's just wrong" if you never have to see the people who are dying. It's harder to maintain that opinion if every day someone cries, Begs you to kill them, to please help them. And you can't. They aren't allowed to have peace or be free from pain, humiliation and even neglect/abuse because...? What? It's good for their soul? It's a sin to end life no matter what? I know many Good Christian ladies, who went to church and prayed etc. They would have answered once that assisted suicide was a sin. But now they lay alone all day, senile or alzhiemers, their body betraying them. They don't know what is happening. People take their clothes off against their will- nurses dressing or bathing them. They scream for their husband to save them but he's been dead for years. They call out to sons who arn't there. They beg them to stop! Why are you doing this? HELP! They even sometimes think they are being raped-Dr. or nurse preforming a "procedure"- imagine thinking you were being raped Every Day untill you died. Imagine being a modest women, and being striped of your clothing by a man you don't know and hooked into a chair you can't get out of, scrubed-washed- in a shower room, and you don't understand what is happening.

    Sorry, I could just keep going. It's hard to express what it's like, watching these people have everything taken from them. Hearing what they Believe is happening to them. From their point of veiw, this is hell, and the people "caring" for them are devils. I can't stand it. It hurts my soul, to have to watch, helpless. It makes me ill in spirit, not to be able to give comfort or even just Hope. Anyone who spends time with those most concerned in this debate-the dying- and would still deny them the Right to Die with Dignity is a Sadist.

    Source(s): I have worked with geriatric paitents for 7 years.
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    In Therory it is a good idea . But you have to determine by professional observations if the suicide is really warranted . Could an anti-depressant help ? Could an operation help ? Is the person capable of consent ?

    In countries where it has been tried (e.g. Demark) there have been a lot of mistakes made in authorizing a suicide .

    EDIT :

    Here is an "honest" mistake made in the USA :

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080324/ap_on_fe_st/no...

    Back in the 50's when the Catholic Church had a strong stance againt divorce people in NYC, such as mayor Wagner , enough , to get a Brooklyn address because the Brooklyn diocese accepted bribes to allow your divorce .

    All doctors are not all beyond being bribed or coerced . And many are downright incompetent . Some will become known for fitting that Oregon person into that 6 month period . Especially when there is an inheritance being used up , or other consideration .

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  • 1 decade ago

    Hello to all and hope this helps.

    Why take your own life is and shall be a personal question that must be answer to Jehovah our creator (in the future) and regarding to religion’s believes this issue seem to be in great debate (well in most religions). Well to start religion as a whole is just a society’s norm, so call membership, and to make people believe they truly are part of a group where they really feel safe. That been said, well truly religion will not save you and anything you will do at the time that you’re here in this planet, well you and only you will have to personally account for and not your religion (for example if you an Mormon or Jew, and your hoping that just because your had a membership to this group for many years that will make you more holy then if you were a Christian, ok, which in not truth in God’s words “We are his sons”) So to all you skeptical in doubt STOP reading all this nonsense books and open the bible (just a hint* be care which bible you choose, there’re groups out there whom have rephrase the Bible to there own believes), it is the only soured of information you can truly trust to resolve most human kind issues (the reading is hard @ 1st but it’s just a retaliation of your brain not wanting to learn the truth, but with practice you get better at it) Why is assisted suicide wrong to me, well because they are playing a role that does not belong to them and just because they have a degree on how to kill a human being doesn’t make it ok (a lot of times society try to twist the words just to make it right, which of course it is not right). Here are examples: robber (hackers), peacekeepers (terrorist), drug dealer (pharmaceutical), spreading democracy (dictatorship) etc etc.

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  • 1 decade ago

    well, i'm personally in favor of it. don't get me wrong, i'm very pro-life, but i just don't think someone should be forced to live if they don't want to.

    just because the family can't cope with the thought of them leaving doesn't mean they shouldn't be able to. that happens with organ donations, where the family refuses even though the card says otherwise.

    fortunately, there are the 'do not resuscitate' orders. at least people can exercise some rights in their own lives.

    just recently in france, a woman who was involved in a right-to-die debate managed to kill herself, after doctors refused for months to help her do it.

    is it better to die, wheelchair-bound, unable to go to the bathroom yourself, or a time when you can still communicate, a time when your dignity remains.

    it is said that humans are the only species with knowledge about its own impending death, but i highly deny that. elderly animals know their at the edge of their lives, their fellow animal companions know it, too. euthanasia is billed as the humane way to let them go, and i suppose it is, but as a family member, did i really want to see my dog die? no. but of course i'd fight that (and i did). i'm family.

    our suffering is nothing compared to their suffering.

    i personally hope to live forever (not joking -- give science enough time -- it may happen this century), and would not want to die, but that doesn't mean others shouldn't be allowed to.

    i'm also an atheist, if that matters to you.

    hope i helped!

    EDIT:

    stopping someone from killing oneself is selfish -- on your part. in the television show Futurama, there's a device called a Suicide Booth, whereby you put the money in, and choose your mode of death. while this may be a bit extreme, i do think it's a good idea. when we're stopping someone from committing suicide, in general, we're stopping them because we don't want them to die. it doesn't matter to us how they feel. yes, they often times come to thank those who 'saved' them, so to speak, at the same time, i just feel that the choice should be left to the person it Directly affects, not Indirectly.

    did i mention i'm a libertarian, as well?

    Source(s): i'm someone who puts a lot more into life than others. i don't lead my life to receive any rewards -- it wouldn't be a life worth living if i lived it waiting for rewards. i believe life is yours to choose, and yours to make. even at the end of life, you should be able to choose how you live it, or how you finish it.
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  • 1 decade ago

    If you'll forgive an atheist using this word, a 'blessing'. There is nothing dignified in being forced to live out your final days in suffering. I've seen it. I've also seen it ended.

    When the person can't complete the task themselves, either because they physically can't manage or they can't obtain necessary items, I think it is a moral responsibility of anyone who cares for that person, or is hired to be a caretaker (doctor, nurse etc) to help them. No, I don't believe in it when the person can get better as in depression or treatable even if not curable diseases. But if that persons daily life is nothing but pain and there's no chance of it getting better? Yes yes yes yes. It's their choice and there is no reason it should be illegal.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think people should have the right to end their own lives if they are terminally ill. If they have no chance of surviving their illness, then I don't see why they should have to suffer with the pain until the illness kills them. I don't think its fair for healthy people to stand around and tell someone who is suffering that they have to keep suffering, even though there is no chance they will get better.

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  • 1 decade ago

    In case you didn't realise, everyone is living with a terminal illness... it's called life.

    I believe every person should have the right to choose whether they are alive or not, if they are in a sane mind no one should be allowed to stop them.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I can honestly say I really don't have an opinion on it. I don't know why someone would do it unless they were terminally ill, but I don't think it is a sin and I don't think it should be illegal either.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I don't think it's a sin to help a person who is already dying to die with some dignity and to suffer less. I do think it's a case-by-case thing, however.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I think each person should have both the right and the ability to choose the manner and time of their death.

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