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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 

A Pro-Lifer's thoughts on Assisted Suicide

Those with common sense know when life begins... but when does life end?

Anyone who's read my site long enough knows how vehemently Pro-Life I am. There's no doubt in my mind that life is a precious gift given to us by a Heavenly Father and Mother to allow us the physical experience in our progression throughout eternity, with the purpose of exposing us to pleasure, pain, gain, and loss in order to steel our Spirits as ore is strengthened in the fire.

Even those children conceived under extraordinary circumstances are children to be nurtured and cared for so that they too have this opportunity to live, love, laugh, and cry... To what end is not up to us individually, each life is precious and distinctively their own to be experienced for only their purposes, purposes that cannot be fully understood by mortal minds... but only understood by the application of faith.

This being said, I have been reading about the Supreme Court's 6-3 decision determining that a federal drug law does not override the 1997 Oregon law used to end the lives of more than 200 seriously ill people. When put against the backdrop of the Terri Schiavo disaster that occurred last year, I don't think I disagree with the court's decision.

Not to say that Terri should have had her feeding tube removed!! That was a separate case but one that deals with the 'when does life end' question nonetheless. A question that has been on our minds a lot lately.

Is the Pro-Life stance the same when considering the end of a life as it is when considering the abortion of a fetus? (read: 'The Killing of a Baby') One would assume so...

But with much discussion between my wife and I over the last year about whether or not to be kept alive when terminally ill and in severe pain, I no longer think so. We both decided that we would not like extraordinary support to stay living in that condition. And while we both expressed desires to just have bullets put in our head instead, I don't think that's legal. It is also probably a function of extreme selfishness as well, as is suicide itself- the ultimate in selfishness...

However, with the advancements in medical technology and medicine's ability to keep someone alive long after they're essentially dead, I cannot think of a more disturbing prospect than to be kept alive when there is no hope of experiencing life as I know it now.

Along those same lines, the slippery slope argument comes into effect as the 'when does life end' argument gains momentum in one direction or the other with the possibility of moving beyond a morally acceptable limit.

It's a very touchy and personal situation and one that needs to be dealt with in very specific and legal terms when drawing up papers to deal with how you want the end of your life situation handled. If you have specific and legal documents outlining your intentions beforehand, I do not see the problem with assisted suicide for the terminally ill who are experiencing extreme suffering.

If the Supreme Court is going to sit there and defend a woman's right to choose whether or not a child is going to grow to experience life in her body, at least they're being consistent with this decision on assisted suicide; as if that's any justification!

In the interest of expanding my own perception on this issue, I'd like to know what you think.

Adam over at Adam's Blog weighed in on this post:
What we're talking about in physician assisted suicide is actively working to destroy life that has become hard, difficult, or painful. While Peakah doesn't see the problem with allowing Assisted Suicide for the Terminally Ill, I do. It puts doctors in the position of a killers instead of healers. It destroys that idea, that most sacred charge of the physican, "First, do no harm."

As a matter of principle, it further ensconces a Culture of Death, where somehow we can decide what innocent life can be destroyed. When you think about our national first principles in the Declaration of Independence, the word inalienable is a synonym for unforfeitable. That means we can't rightly decide to actively kill ourselves or encourage others to do so.
Go there and read the rest of his well thought out arguement which I found myself agreeing with yet sticking to my guns at the same time...

There's more great analysis found at: Unclaimed Territory and MF Blog and Whole Wheat Blogger and Aaron's Blog

Other opinions (let me know to add yours!): Stop the ACLU, Rob, Political Dogs, Blogs4God, Lynchburg Area VA, DemLog, Stones Cry Out, Daddypundit, Baseball Crank, Roblog

And there's always ScrappleFace's twist...

Linked as well (cuz I'm lovin tha linky-love) to today's open posts at: Don Surber, third world county, Jo's Cafe, Cao's Blog, NIF, Basil's Blog, TMH's Bacon Bits, Choose Life, Diane's Stuff, Stuck on Stupid, Rempelia Prime, MacStansbury, Right Wing Nation, Adam's Blog, Clear Lake Reflections)

UPDATE: Be sure to check out the comment section on this one! Diane has engaged me in an awesome debate and D. Maria passionately expresses her views!! (I was hoping for this type of reaction!!) What are you waiting for! Let me know what you think!!

I think you know what my stance is on the death penalty which is an entirely other issue but I think it ties in here somewhat. Do you believe there should be a death penalty? I would think if your stance is Pro-Life and you at one time considered euthanasia to be wrong then how can the death penalty be right? Just a question. I don't think I've ever seen your feelings on that. It has nothing to do with what you asked but you know me, I'm not quite up to speed ;) I'd just like to know your opinion on the death penalty. I should of asked that in your interview questionairre but I asked quite a different one! If you're asked it you might even recognize it came from me.

As far as medically assisted suicide goes I think the scene where Edward G. dies (of his own choosing) in Soylent Green would be the way to go if I had a choice in the matter. I certainly wouldn't want to waste away and do no one any good but the doctor's who were collecting from my insurance.

Being Pro-Life and being for the death penalty are not necessarily contradictory. One deals with destruction of innocent life and the other deals with justice as administered by a court system.

Personally I am Pro-Death Penalty but only in cases where it is absolutely proven without a shadow of a doubt, including a confession or incontrovertable evidence. But that assumes that the Justice system is completely just and fair, which is safe to say is not the case.

I've shifted my thoughts back and forth between pro-death penalty or putting murderers in remote work camps in remote areas far away from society. I guess it would have to be considered on a case by case basis just as abortion or assisted suicide would be but as far as the Courts are concerned, there has to be some type of policy concerning these issues. Generally, the States should be the ones who make these decisions trumping federal policy. As was the case in Oregon.

I am in agreement with the decision made by the Supreme Court... (which didn't really sanction assisted suicide but protected doctors in Oregon that perform assisted suicide from being convicted on federal drug charges) but I don't think it conflicts with my Pro-Life abortion views, or even conflicts with being pro-death penalty (somewhat).

Awesome question Diane! I haven't seen Soylent Green but I have to agree with you there.

I'm Pro-Life. I'll NEVER understand why the United States government allows women to KILL their unborn BABIES!! There's not a day that goes by that I don't pray that we someday overturn Roe v. Wade. For anyone that doesn't know...it was predicated on a lie. It's MURDER pure and simple.

As far as assisted suicide is concerned, I won't comment on that at this time. Due to personal reasons...I'm not 100% sure where I stand on that issue.

I'm for the death penalty; especially with the advancements in forensics science. I believe in protecting innocent human life!! "If we execute murderers and there is in fact no deterrent effect, we have killed a bunch of murderers. If we fail to execute murderers, and doing so would in fact have deterred other murders, we have allowed the killing of a bunch of innocent victims. I would much rather risk the former. This, to me, is not a tough call."

Oh Noooooooooo- You MUST go rent it! LOL

Thanks for such a great reply! Now let's think of this- Suppose Ted Bundy's mother had wanted an abortion and could have gotten one? ;)

DM: That's typically how I feel about the death penalty, but when trying to nail down my thoughts on an issue I like to hedge my bets... Uggghhh... I sound like a politician!

Diane: I will rent it...

As for Bundy's mom, that's such a specious arguement that is impossible to use for Ted Bundy had as much of an opportunity to be the next Einstein as he did of being Ted Bundy...

Eventually when the Human Genome becomes as readable as a book, which won't be long, we're going to be getting into this issue of whether or not it's moral (or even a moral responsibility) to abort those who's DNA has a tendency to express itself in such a way that there's a high probabability that a person will be born 'evil'. That day is closer than we think!

And I have to say that I pray each day that Jesus will return to reign as King before we get into that debate... that's sure to be a messy one...

How RITE you are, my friend (speaking of the RCIA innitation into Catholicism). And you're JUST the person to read my novel, which I've put a brief synopsis on my blogspot. Enjoy! God bless you with discernment!

kold: Read the synopsis, sounds totally fascinating actually! I love the slangy vernacular you bravely used in describing it... very cool.

At first I thought you were a spammer who beat the word verification thingy but I'm glad you commented!

Don't be a stranger... Oh, and when I finish one of the 18 or so books I've started and am reading all at the same time, I'll probably pick up a copy of your book.

...forgive me but you look exactly like a Calculus teacher I had at UNM in 2000 (a russian dude who's name escapes me) ... and I just got a hit from Albuquerque when that comment posted so, just wonderin.

Peakah, it is an hard question. I look at the end of life as when there is no chance of quality life returning.

I was very much for removing Schaivo's feeding tube (and I'm pro-life), 11 years in a bed is NOT a life.

If my family were to do that to me, when I did finally die I would haunt them daily. When a machine has to do it for me, I don't want it done anymore, let me go!

Actually, my novel's ain't in stores ...YET. Glory2God!!! So, when it comes out, gimme your name and address... and I'll send it2yoo (you'll freekin' love it. My novel wasn't written by me. I only held the pen. Why? To show our country there's a fantasic, kick-some-ass God whom we have completely fergotten about, Paw). God surely makes the weak mighty. Gimme everything to get in contact witchoo. Cool? Cool.

It wasn't really Ted's life I was thinking about. It was the lives of who knows how many women he actually did kill and what they may have contributed had their lives not been aborted by him. But then again-

Ecclesiastes 3:1

I see a difference in the case of Terri and usual cases of being allowed to pass away with dignity. I've a very close friend who has cared for his mother (Alzheimers) for more years than I care to count. We're talking about a 30 year old virgin here, bless his heart. That's dedication! Anyhow, in the end his mother was in a nursing home screaming from the time she woke until she slept (and she was only sleeping a few hours out of 24). He and his family decided to forego the feeding tube, which was her only hope to continue to live. They didn't make the news and their church supported their action...or non-action if you will.
In Terri's case we had a woman who was unable to tell us her thoughts on the subject, her life being desperately faught for by her mother, father, and extended family (which video showed her appearing to enjoy, hence having some joy in life)against the wishes of someone who had clearly moved on (and even stood to gain from her death). When we had to rely on the testimony of either her family or him when deciding what she would have wanted, I was disturbed that his take on what she would have wanted was adopted and carried through despite her family's wishes. If that were me in her shoes, even if I'd have prefered to not live, I'd have detested the pain he caused my family. If having me around meant that much to my poor mother and I wasn't in any great pain, let her have me, even if I'm just a shell (which I don't really think Terri was). Of couse, I care for my mom more than I do myself.

For me personally, I wouldn't like to be kept alive if unable to comprehend or enjoy life but definitey could not take part in quickening my own demise due to religious belief that that's not my decision to make. I would, however, not be opposed if the dosage of medications required to relieve my "extreme pain" happened to speed that process along.

We'd all do well to have such things in a will so our family doesn't have to live with the pain of deciding it for us, imo.

CP: While I will agree with you that 11 years confined to a bed is not a life, you cannot eliminate handicapped people because they're confined to a bed! The fact that she was exhibiting progress and was cognizant at times led me to believe that there was still consciousness there that was neither terminally ill nor in severe pain... but I wasn't there to know for sure. I just don't like the idea of it being ok to kill off the handicapped. Although I do agree with the haunting sentiments!

Kold: ok ok ok chief, don't call me I'll call you...

Diane: That passage pretty much says it all, we'll never fully understand the mysteries of life, but we can at least err on the side of caution...

Uber: I agree with you completely, we must have been posting our comments at the same time!

Peakah, Uber had a great post a little bit ago about abortion. What a great story!! I used to be anti-abortion, pro-death penalty. But recently I have struggled with ending someones life, whether society wants that life to end or not. God gives us life and he ends it when he is ready for it to end. Those that have done unspeakable acts to their human conterparts have a place in eternal hell. I beleive this with all my heart. But the bible teaches that there can be deliverance even for the worst, if they will yeild to God. I've probably just screwed myself here but that is what I believe. At least I am honest.

and Kolb; easy boy, your coming across like Ben Stiller with too much espresso.

Commendations for a heart-felt post on this extremely difficult topic... and the discussion it engendered. Your point on consistency in the SCOTUS is well-taken, though clearly law was not "invented" in this case, as it was for the Roe decision/constitutional abomination.

Ssssteve: I remember Ubers abortion post... I was also "pro-choice" (what a misnomer!) until my freshman year of college when I was assigned to do a debate about abortion and when I realized how horrendous it was and I saw pictures of one, from that point on there was no doubt in my mind what side of the equation I would be on... and no, you didn't screw yourself, honesty is what I was striving for in this post... It's fun to have posts that make you laugh out loud (like yours routinely do) but I can't help the serious streak within me sometimes... thanks for commenting brah.

TMH: Soo Soo True... In fact their decision may not be so consistent after all: Justice Thomas dissents: In a separate dissent, Clarence Thomas pointed out that yesterday’s decision is at odds with a recent Supreme Court ruling regarding medical marijuana use. In the Oregon case, the Court ruled that state law trumps federal law – with regard to assisted suicide. But in the marijuana case, it ruled that state law does not trump federal law.

In other words, a majority of the Justices seemed to have had a preferred outcome in mind in both cases and then found a way to use twisted legal reasoning to forbid in one case what they permit in another. They clearly seem to see themselves as a super-legislature, preoccupied with what the law should be rather than what it is, and willing to impose their own vision of society in plain defiance of laws passed by elected representatives. This is judicial activism on vivid display.


So much for judicial consistency! Besides, what does consistency matter when their basis for that consistency is a fallacy!!! (Roe vs Wade)

You really hit on something when you pointed out how selfish suicide is, Peakah. So many people think it is their right to decide when they die, but the most important death they could have would be dying to themselves and their own desires. God doesn't promise us a life (or death) free from pain or suffering. I know the issue is not something that can be neatly packaged and presented, but we can always go back to the Giver of Life and see what He wants. We rarely go through life seeking His will, and how often do we seek His will in death?

CJ: Wow... that blew me away... Thanks for elucidating on that point! That was beautiful!

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  • From White Mountains, Arizona, United States
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