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A look at the pro life views about euthanasia

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The debate is necessary, but a thread running throughout is counterproductive: Abortion is the deliberate termination of a pregnancy which generally occurs through one of three methods: The strongest argument against abortion is that an innocent, unconsenting human being is murdered by a medical procedure.

Ideally, if the person is unable to communicate, consent derives from prior-expressed wishes or from a guardian's knowledge and authority. If the person can communicate and says "no," then the "assisted death" ceases to be euthanasia and becomes murder. Unlike abortion, where the woman is making a choice about her fetus, with euthanasia, the only person being harmed is the person consenting to die.

And any resulting laws are likely to impact how our society approaches that issue. More broadly stated, the laws may impact the right of every human being to determine their own medical destiny, including death with dignity.

Pro-Lifers Link Euthanasia to Abortion

Pro-life advocates have an opportunity. For decades, the pro-choice side of the abortion debate has accused pro-lifers of trying to wrench away a woman's control of her own body. Through the issue of euthanasia, pro-lifers can reassure every woman that they respect the moral jurisdiction she has over her own life by defending her right to choose when that choice affects only her own body. Instead, the opposite is occurring.

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Somewhere along the line, the argument that people should determine their own medical destiny is interpreted to be a bloodthirsty cry to murder others. Why does the pro-life movement link abortion to euthanasia?

  • Euthanasia clearly conflicts with the second of these, and it interferes with the first;
  • Religions are opposed to euthanasia for a number of reasons;
  • First, both are morally wrong;
  • In Schiavo's case, the court did rule;
  • Traditionally, the medical fate of someone like Schiavo -- unable to communicate for over a decade -- would be determined by attending doctors and the legal guardian.

First, both are morally wrong. Second, both are integral to the ongoing debate over "what is life. For example, drunk driving and embezzlement are both morally wrong but they cannot be coupled in any meaningful way to abortion.

  • They usually mean something like this;
  • Instead, the opposite is occurring;
  • The key ideas in their attitudes to death are achieving freedom from mortal life, and not-harming living beings;
  • If it were, they would not oppose mercy killing in cases where the person actively requests assistance in dying;
  • There is a less obvious fall-out to Terri's Law.

The second connection is more on point: When a person cannot communicate -- perhaps because they are "brain dead" -- the question of "what is life" arises. The hideous possibility of killing an unconsenting, innocent human is present.

But such a possibility is not at the core of why many pro-lifers oppose euthanasia. If it were, they would not oppose mercy killing in cases where the person actively requests assistance in dying. The core idea seems to be "the sanctity of life.

  • God gives people life, so only God has the right to take it away;
  • Do people have the right to control their own bodies and decide on the sanctity of their life or death for themselves?
  • God gives people life, so only God has the right to take it away;
  • You can look at that sentence in several ways;
  • She lives with her husband in Canada.

This raises the key political issue: Do people have the right to control their own bodies and decide on the sanctity of their life or death for themselves?

Traditionally, the medical fate of someone like Schiavo -- unable to communicate for over a decade -- would be determined by attending doctors and the legal guardian.

In Schiavo's case, the court did rule: Terri's feeding tube was removed at her husband's request -- a request he claims fulfills her previously stated desire. The "solution" that many pro-lifers have wildly applauded is state intervention.

Religion and euthanasia

Jeb Bush to use the Legislature to overturn a court ruling, medical advice and a guardian's decision. There is a less obvious fall-out to Terri's Law.

Many pro-choice advocates like me have been slowly moving toward the pro-life position. But, in not confronting pro-life arguments, am I sanctioning the state's "right" to control a woman's medical decisions? Wendy McElroy is the editor of ifeminists. She is the author and editor of many books and articles, including the new book, Liberty for Women: Freedom and Feminism in the 21st Century Ivan R. She lives with her husband in Canada.