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Euthanasia And Bigotry


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I have loved Bishop Spong's writings for so long, but as I flipped through You-tube channels I could not believe this paragon of inclusion and affirmation of our humanity was spewing out the same thoughtless bigotry around the issue of "euthanasia" that most other liberal or progressive people claim. I am a civil rights advocate for people with disabilities. I am not yet disabled.my 28 year old daughter has significant disabilities (she's on the right track baby, she was born this way -hey!) I am connected to the larger national disability community through writing and advocacy. Terri Schaivo was not "brain dead" as was cemented into fact early in the litigation that surrounded her ordeal. Terri spoke, although not like you and I, and Terri sought to keep living, even though no longer in a body that worked like yours or mine. It is so hard for able-bodied people to accept that we remain constant in our humanity even as we become weak and vulnerable in bodies and/or minds. The euthanasia movement is the only liberal response in thus country to people with significant disabilities. KILL 'EM, might as well be shouted in their faces. Nearly every hospital in this country now has "futile care policies" that allow them -just like the doctors under Hitler- to determine my daughters life is "a life not worthy if living." in a decision made by people who don't know her, or the work she does in our community, my daughter could be denied medical care. And so could we. An unconscious patient who has no insurance or state Medicaid is very likely to be drugged into a stopor, have his or her family advised of "brain death" so that organs can be harvested for well insured non-disabled folks who can immediately be deemed mire "worthy if life" for both their ability to fund a broken healthcare system and their current nondisabled appearance. Consider, just for one moment that "brain dead" is only a term coined when we realized transplantation required LIVE donors. Then consider that the you of you is no different in a disabled body or mind. It is only the bigotry of liberal thinking about the worthlessness of weak and needy beings that allows us to write out a death sentence for who we are often destined to become. This death sentence robs us of the experience of care and compassion in the image of the Christ, and equally as life denying, it robs our loved ones of the lessons learned through the same kinds of sacrafice we willingly submit to with the birth if an infant, or the giving over of our very being to a cause we are willing to die for- that which is greater than our personal desire for comfort. the love needed by people with disabilities is a perspective shifting love. It is not about our comfort, or discomfort, or claims of ruin. It is not about our misuse of imagination to conjure up ONLY negative scenarios about life with disability. It us about giving yourself over to the mystery and beauty of that which is, as opposed to murdering it because it makes us uncomfortable.

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Added by Moderator....

 

The above post is considered by moderation not in line with the etiquette of this board. While the opinion stated and perhaps a reference to the You-tube talk by Bishop Spong would be good so that all could consider what was said and comment, certain derogatory remarks are not necessary to make ones point or express ones opinion here.

 

Feminine Divine, Consider this a public warning not to restrict you from expressing your opinion but to remind you that you are a guest member in this community and should familiarize yourself with our rules and etiquette if you expect meaningful dialog and responses to your posts. While agreement with ones views is not required, a respect for others to have opposing views is. If this continues, this thread will be deleted and member restricted to moderator approval of posts.

 

JosephM (as Moderator)

Edited by JosephM
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End of life care counseling is not about doctors trying to convince patients to commit suicide. The whole reason for end of life counseling is to allow patients to make these kinds of decisions to avoid any other fiascoes like the Terri Shiavo case. The decision to end your life should be between the patient, their family, and the doctor and it's nobody else's business but them. My mother is a devout Christian and she has said herself before that she would rather be taken off life support and die than spend the rest of her life as a vegetable if it came down to it. To compare Bishop Spong to Hitler and accuse supporters of euthanasia of some conspiracy plot to murder disabled people is the kind of language that leads abortion terrorists to murder Dr. Tiller so perhaps you should pluck the shard out of your own eye before you accuse other people who disagree with you of bigotry.

 

Added by Moderator...

Post is fine except for last sentence. Please do not react personally to poorly stated posts. Report or use peer rating only. The last sentence only serves to invoke frurther negative dialog.

JosephM (as Moderator)

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I agree with Neon. I am trained in hospice and palliative care and know well how difficult the subject is. I have also listened to Bishop Spong speak in person at my church. I have no doubt that he is a very compassionate person. If I were facing the end of my life I would certainly like to have Bishop Spong at my bedside.

 

Myron

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I am in complete agreement with Neon Genesis as far as he went. My wife and I both have living wills because we don't want to end up like Terri Schiavo earning some hospital or nursing home a bottom line in the black. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts as they say.

 

Murder is defined as: The act of unlawfully killing another human being. The question that is not asked very often is; "When does a life become human and stop being human?" Before we can answer that we need to define what human life is.

 

An organism is a form of life that is capable of growing, metabolizing nutrients, and usually reproducing. All organisms share a common basic element called DNA, the necessary ingredient for all organic life.

 

Human beings are a unique representation of the life force and the human specie's uniqueness comes from the ability to reason and be self conscious; to be a cognitive sensual entity. Until an individual organism has matured or developed that combination of uniquely human characteristics it cannot be identified as human; viable and capable of reproducing or becoming a functioning part of the greater human organism we call humanity.

 

DNA in each human being is unique and each cell among the trillions of cells within our bodies carries a duplicate copy of our unique DNA program. Among all human beings the difference in our DNA varies between 99.999 and 99.998 percent identical, a difference of only .001 percent.

 

Each individual human life begins with birth and ends with death. Birth is defined as that time when we as individuals are separated from the umbilical link that ties us to our mother, the conduit for all of our nourishment taken from our mother's oxygenated blood supply.

 

Death is defined differently than the opposite of birth when it comes to our mortal body. A person in a persistent vegetative state isn't considered dead yet because they still have a beating heart and can breathe on their own.

 

All of the doctors hired by Michael Schiavo and all independent doctors hired by the courts have agreed: Terri Schiavo was in a Persistent Vegetative State. No other conclusion is possible given the absence of a cerebral cortex. Doctors hired by Terri's parents disputed this diagnosis, but not in a substantive way that the courts have been able to take seriously. These doctors do not explain why the tests done so far are wrong (i.e., that she really does have a cerebral cortex) or, if the tests are correct, how a person can have consciousness and self-awareness in the absence of a cerebral cortex.

 

A persistent vegetative state means that a person's brain is so severely damaged that even though they may exhibit wakefulness, they are incapable of experiencing awareness or reacting in a consistent manner to external stimuli. Terri Schiavo's behavior may mimic normal consciousness and the heavily edited tapes released by Terri's parents serve to perpetuate that impression, but tests performed by qualified physicians demonstrated that there is simply nothing left there. As a human being is defined "the ability to reason and be self conscious; to be a cognitive sensual entity" Terri did not have the very things that make a living organism a human. She died many years ago and her body was kept barely alive through artificial means. Removing the feeding tube caused her no suffering because she was already dead.

 

To argue that a human life begins at the time the male seed unites with the egg is like arguing that Microsoft Windows 7 was a program when the idea was conceived and the first line of code was written. Until birth when the first independent breath is drawn there is no human being, there is only a potential human being dependent upon its mother womb for shelter and the umbilical cord that feeds it. Terry was no longer even a potential human being she was a mortal body in an almost completely atrophied state with no brain activity and a skull full of spinal fluid and brain tissue.

 

The whole human organism called humanity is a macro organism composed of all individual human beings each having a unique but almost identical DNA program and each having a birth and death defining their life span. At death the life force that keeps their cellular structure organized leaves the mortal organic body allowing it to decompose and return to its elemental make up as it is re-absorbed by the environment. The life force energy that kept the organism functional cannot be destroyed and remains as energy in the universe available to transfer to other organisms. This is the law of conservation of energy, the first law of thermodynamics.

 

When a fetus is aborted it is not yet born; ergo not yet human. Abortion is not illegal so it cannot be murder; a human life is not ended so it can't be murder. A unique expression of potential human life is postponed by abortion but life is not destroyed. Humanity as an organism is not harmed and will continue evolving with or without this particular life. Terry Schaivo's atrophied body was allowed to die by removing life support legally and with a great deal of compassion, it was not murder.

 

It was disgraceful and disrespectful to all that is decent to see how the right wing fundamentalist arm of the Republican Party rallied around the politicization of this very private and personal matter to score points with Christians.

 

These are my thoughts on human life.

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To clarify, I don't think everyone has to agree with me on my views on euthanasia and I can understand the concerns that people have about euthanasia being abused like what happened in the case of the infamous Dr. Death, but I think this should remain a private matter for families to decide and nobody else. I was sickened with the way the media obsessed over the Terri Schiavo case and treated it like a soap opera plot instead of just letting it remain within the party. At one point, even the soap opera, Passions, ended up turning the Terri Schiavo case into one of their soap opera plotlines. But I think dangerous cases like Dr. Death is what happens when euthanasia is banned and there's no way for it to be regulated. Like banning abortion didn't stop women from having abortions. It just forced them to go into the back alleys and to use coat hangers. Likewise, banning euthanasia won't get rid of it but will just cause people who want it to find more desperate and more dangerous methods to use when they don't have professional help available to them. But if say, someone is trapped in a vegetative state or if they're going to die from cancer and there's no hope of a recovery for them, I don't see why euthanasia can't be an option for them instead of forcing them to endure months of unbearable pain and torture while they wait to die. I also think we need to be careful of the emotional language we use in these discussions. There's already enough polarization and hateful speech in this country as it is and we need to be speaking to each other through love and concern and not through personal attacks and demonization.

Edited by Neon Genesis
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Neon,

 

I agree.

 

I think it interesting that we consider it a humane act to 'put our pet to sleep' to alleviate suffering, but inhumane if we allow a terminally ill person, or their family, to select the same option. Likewise, we can remove life support in which death is inevitable but not hasten it with medical intervention.

 

George

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Neon,

 

I agree.

 

I think it interesting that we consider it a humane act to 'put our pet to sleep' to alleviate suffering, but inhumane if we allow a terminally ill person, or their family, to select the same option. Likewise, we can remove life support in which death is inevitable but not hasten it with medical intervention.

 

George

 

George,

 

Great observation! In April I was in the position of making this decision twice in one week. I had to decide have our old broodmare euthanized or to keep her alive for maybe another couple of months by feeding her through a nose tube. She was 34, and had had 17 foals in her life, a good mom. The decision was easy and an overdose of sodium pentothal ended her discomfort in about 30 seconds. A few days later my six year old full of life Border collie ran under the wheels of my car from out of nowhere. I knew from experience that she was mortally wounded and in shock a trip to the vet would have been over an hour of suffering more. I ended it quickly with one shot. I cried for both of them but know in my heart I did the right thing.

 

Finally, and this is the most difficult to bring back, was taking my first wife off of life support. Cancer had destroyed her liver, her kidneys and her pancreas. She was in a morphine induced coma and hemorrhaging internally and uncontrollably. It was a hopeless situation and we had done everything humanly possible to fix her. I had brought her communion to her hospital bed 24 hours earlier and she had been given the last rites. We had a family discussion after 24 hours of her situation going from bad to all her vital organs shutting down and severe internal bleeding. We decided together to allow her to cross over the rainbow peacefully without the aspirator and the other paraphernalia that was artificially keeping her alive. She passed after only a few gentle shallow breaths.

 

 

 

This was the hardest thing I've done in my life and I know it was for the kids too. There was a great sense of peacefulness and relief at the finish of her ordeal. It was my privilege to help the love of my life escape her suffering. Her mortal job was finished and her memory and spirit live on.

 

 

 

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The euthanasia movement is the only liberal response in thus country to people with significant disabilities.

Since I, a liberal, and my wife, another liberal, adopted a daughter with significant disabilities, allowed her to be all she could be for twenty years, this daughter dying in our home in hospice care, obviously, I am an exception to this.

 

Dutch

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Neon,

 

I agree.

 

I think it interesting that we consider it a humane act to 'put our pet to sleep' to alleviate suffering, but inhumane if we allow a terminally ill person, or their family, to select the same option. Likewise, we can remove life support in which death is inevitable but not hasten it with medical intervention.

 

George

The belief that suicide is a sin comes from when the early Christian heretics, the Donatists, believed they could get to heaven quicker if they killed themselves, so the Catholic church made suicide a sin to stop its followers from offing themselves as a shortcut to getting into heaven. The bible itself never condemns suicide and in a broad definition of the word suicide, Jesus' sacrifice in the traditional understanding of atonement theology is a form of assisted suicide. Edited by Neon Genesis
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Feminine Divine, my views on this are pretty much in line with what others have responded with here...Due to several fairly recent close personal and very difficult losses in my own life that doget into this controversial area, this is much too raw and emotional for me to comment on in detail.

 

I will just say, I am liberal, I am Progressive, in social issues as well as my faith, and I totally am NOT anywhere near where you seem to paint all liberals or PC in your rant. It doesn't even come close to fitting me, and I do not like being lumped into such a sterotype.

 

Jenell

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I think this should remain a private matter for families to decide and nobody else.

Life, and end of life, are personal journeys. Teri Schiavo should have remained a private affair. We should not even know about her and her family. Many people knew our daughter, Annie, but no one outside the medical profession ever thought that they should have input into how we dealt with her medical needs. Actually, we, well my wife, were very assertive in getting the best care possible and as a result, giving Annie that chance to live to her fullest potential. We had "unlimited" financial resources because we had adopted her in California. This gift from the taxpayers of that state funded two rounds of chemotherapy 18 years apart, hip surgery, knee surgery, facial reconstruction, and all the care that came after each of those. The first Iraq war threatened the supply of expensive gammagobolin which she received every 3-5 weeks for most of her life.

 

Our way of life is a witness and our way of death is a witness. It is different for everyone. Several of my cousins have died from a degenerative neurological disorder for which there is no cure and little treatment. One cousin fought the disease every step refusing to give in and lived much longer than expected. Another cousin did not want people to feel uncomfortable around him. He wanted to witness to a faith in Jesus and an afterlife reunion. Same disease. Same outcome. Different witness.

 

Annie's was a life well lived and a life that changed others. Most of all, perhaps, her doctor. The views of the doctor who cared for her from the first bout with cancer to her last were turned 180 degrees. When he first met us as a resident in the cancer ward, I think he was overwhelmed by the pain and the struggle each patient and family endured. He thought that maybe it was better not to struggle and perhaps find a comfortable way to die. But sometime in the first 10 years through Annie's witness and the witness of other patients and families he saw much that was worth struggling for and he and his wife adopted a child with significant disabilities.

 

Decisions about end of life issues are often ecological. What are our resources? What is the best use of our resources? Human resources, financial resources, and emotional and psychological resources. How good is the social support network? Are they there to help you in ways you need or will they use you to work out their own emotional issues? Diane's father lived at least 60 days longer on a ventilator and other support than he had told his wife he wanted. But he had not written it down. Because one of his daughters had not come to terms with her relationship with her father, with her own thoughts about dying, she couldn't agree to taking him off the ventilator.

 

Most people do not have an unlimited supply of money. One should not go into bankruptcy because they have not come to terms with the fact that we all die. We can't spend an infinite amount of money keeping the dying from dying when some of that money can be used for the living. My mother is 91, suffers from dementia, and is in a facility which can provide hospice in the same room she is living now. She has the financial resources to pay for quality care. The financial resources for my father-in-law were different. Because the family could not agree on obeying his wishes, the doctors took him off the ventilator on the day that Medicare money would no longer be available for the level of care he was getting. Yes the doctors made a financial decision to stop support because the family did not have the emotional resources to make the decision their father had asked them to do.

 

My sisters have done all the work making these arrangements for my mom and managing her care. One sister asked, "What would have happened if we (my sisters) hadn't done all this hard and stressful work?" The answer is that the outcome would have been different based on the emotional, psychological and intellectual resources of the care giver(s).

 

Whether the resources are unlimited or not, we each must come to terms with what is - we all die in the ongoing evolution of the universe, a continuing manifestation of God's creating love. Shall we lay waste to the human, emotional, and financial resources to live a day longer? What is the best witness we can give? The answer is personal.

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

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Dutch, I know that was a difficult sharing, it was absolutely beautiful, brought tears to my eyes. I couldn't have said near so well what you did here. Thank you.

And feminine divine, you can take his words as ones I would say as well. And now please realize, the sterotype you presented of us as liberals and progressives, is just plain wrong. I, and most other liberals and progressive I know, are, beyond any other defining quality or characteristic, bound together as people of love.

 

Harry, you too, express quite fully, what it is to be there, in that place of making the hardest kind of decisions we can make in our lives.

 

Btw, one other thing. 2 1/2 years ago, when my younger sister decided, after 6 long grueling years of agressive treatment for stage 4 ovarian cancer, that she was tired. Too tired to go on. After 9 emergency hospitalizations in 2 months, she made the decision to stop. She had lived here with me 5 years of that battle. She chose to die here, under hospice care. Feminine divine, those last days, I pushed two beds together and we were side by side, even down to the lst 36 hours, as she slipped into unconsciousness, I was there beside her, talking to her, touching her, holding her limp hand...I didn't know if she knew, if she heard, if she felt, but I continued all the way to her last breath, to let her know she was not dying alone.

 

Now tell us, feminie divine, we liberals, progressives, are cold hearted people that just want the disabled, the sick, the elderly, to just die and get it over with as quickly as possible.

 

And that did me in for this evening here....

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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Thank harry, Jenyll.

 

I didn't know if she knew, if she heard, if she felt, but I continued all the way to her last breath, to let her know she was not dying alone.

A courageous and loving witness, Jenyll.

 

A thought on Dr. Death and others like him. He was or is beyond the boundary of what we thought or think is acceptable but I think he was the way in which our society and culture achieved consciousness about end of life issues. As a result, control and responsibility for decisions about end of life were democratized. The decision making process moved to the patient and caregivers. However, in the absence of of self awareness and consciousness and emotional resources needed on the caregivers' part, this decision making process moves back to the doctor.

 

Dutch

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One point in this I think complicate clear discussion on these very emotional and sometimes controversial matters is that in many posts here, there is not a clear line between:

 

Euthanasia...which means good death, or gentle death, btw...the deliberate and intentional ending of the life of another in as humane manner as possible. Euthanasia is only the appropriate term if the act is deliberate and intentional, as in administering a lethal dose of a drug, or even in a situation mentioned above in regards to the mortally wounded dog, other means of killing.

 

sub: in cases of "futile care", in which there is on going suffering without reasonable hope of recovery. Mercy killing.

sub: such deliberate and intentional act of taking the life of one that has requested it done, ie assisted suicide.

sub: where it is the convenience of others that motivates, which is what feminine divine seems to be talking about---though I suspect she isn't even here to read these responses, is one of those that just fly by, drop their bomb, and keep on going.

 

And some very different things:

 

Withholding or withdrawing treatment and/or artificial life support that only allows death to happen as a natural consequence, is NOT euthanasia, as there is no deliberate intentional act to end the life, no 'killing'.

 

Personal choices regarding one's own death, short of actual assisted suicice, most often involving with holding or withdrawal of artifical life support, or cessation ofagressive treatment, established in advance, as in a living will that sets forth how they want any use of artifical life support or use of heroic life-saving actions to be carried out or not, and often specifying who is authorized to make those decisions and under what circumstances if one is unable to do so one's self.

 

Personal present choice and directive, as when the person is still able to issue such directive themself, such as in my sister's situation given above. After repeated interventions to stop the dying process as it had begun, she chose to not do that the next time it began. She chose to allow the process to continue to it's natural end.

 

Jenell

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Withholding or withdrawing treatment and/or artificial life support that only allows death to happen as a natural consequence, is NOT euthanasia, as there is no deliberate intentional act to end the life, no 'killing'.

 

First, let me just say what a blessing it is to read this thread. I am convinced that I am honored to be welcome among such loving, caring people.

 

This last point, Jenell, really hits home for me. My mother was diagnosed with stage IV lymphoma at the age of 68. She went through all of the terrors that accompany the struggle to fight this dread disease. My father, sister and I as well as numerous friend and family took turns being with her through it all.

 

Toward the end, I happened to be the one to take her in for chemotherapy and she had a very bad reaction to it. Right then and there she confessed to me that she no longer wished to endure the pain and discomfort of continuing treatment. We then went to meet with my father and sister to inform them of her decision to discontinue the treatments and just let the cancer do its thing.

 

Those last three months were probably the most joyous moments I can remember as a family. She laughed, cried, went through all of the old photo albums and watched all of her favorite movies.

 

During her treatments, it was advised to keep away from small children who may carry cold or flu virus and not go to events (like church) where there were lots of people for fear of contracting a virus. Well, all that went out the window. What a treat it was to see the joy on her face while watching all of the little children play and giggle in her presence. She went to church to say goodbye to all of her dear friends, and we "risked it all" in daring drives in the country and such.

 

However, her last week was a horror I would not wish on anyone. Because she signed a DNR at the time of her decision to forgo further treatment, the only thing the caretakers could do for her was give her morphine for the pain. My mother shunned medication her whole life, not liking the way drugs affected her mind (she was a small person). She hated those morphine treatments, but the pain was just too intense to refuse.

 

We watched her suffer (needlessly, in my opinion) for four very long days and nights as the cancer consumed her internal organs. I won't go into the gory details because I suspect many of you know what I'm talking about.

 

Not long ago, a loved family dog succumbed to cancer. She was in severe pain. The vet gave her a shot of sodium pentothal, and she died peacefully in my arms.

 

So, you tell me: which is more compassionate?

 

NORM

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Norm

 

We went through a similar experience with my mother-in-law who had a DNR order in her living will. I know your question was rhetorical and I know the answer. It didn't do me or any ofthe rest of us any good at all to hear a doctor or nurse say that she wasn't suffering because she was unconscious.

 

I think we should be able to choose death by injection in our living will. I don't judge Dr. Kevorkian harshly, when hope is gone and suffering is the only alternative it would be helpful to have a compassionate person willing to assist in death just as we have pediatricians and midwives to assist in birth. Isn't that what happens when a person is removed from life support? What is the difference between removing a breathing tube and letting a person die and administering a pill or an injection or introducing carbon monoxide to the breathing tube and helping a person die if both are done with the same compassion? Why makes one moral and the other not?

Edited by Harry
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Thank you, Harry, you come out and say something I've been holding back....that while under our society's present standards and laws, Dr. Kavorkian was a criminal, but that it may be society will someday look back upon his as a courageous pioneer.

 

It opens a whole nasty can of worms to state that humane euthanasia, whether at the patient's own request, or as a decision made between the patient's family and doctors inthe case of a patient unable to participate inthe decision, because it seemspretty certain that once the issue is raised, there are going to be those ready to rush in to drag their red herrings of how the practice could be used and abused toward ends not based in compassion for the patient, but convenience for others.

 

I too have had to make the most humane decision for many animals over the years. And I have witnessed more than one situation in which someone was suffering terribly, clearly on the downslide to death, yet body lingering, and for whom I've actually prayed, please, Lord, take this person as soon and as gently as You can. I came to that in my sister's last weeks especially final days, and for as long as she was able, we prayed that together for her.

 

Jenell

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Jennel,

 

I have a different view on life than the vast majority of Chrisitians, progressive or otherwise. I don't call my self a Christian but I try to understand the wisdom of the lessons Christ taught. Love and forgiveness are not exclusive to Christians. Jesus Christ was not the first with those teachings, he learned them and passed them on. But I digress.

 

Back to the subject of reverence for life and how compasionate, loving people hold human life in the highest regard. We need to understand what human life is and what makes humans unique in the life cycle. I spend many hours pondering life and what it is all about, when it begins and what happens when it ends. Here is a response I made on another forum regarding abortion, murder, euthanasia and life. I realize what I say is controversial but I say it to get feedback to consider so I can improve myunderstanding.

 

lovingdad said:

Harry Hopkins writes: "Abortion is not murder because it does not end a human life"Well, Harry, what kind of life is it if it's not human? Is not a baby 3 months before birth every bit as much a baby as one 3 minutes after birth?

 

 

Harry responds:

 

I appreciate your question because each time I'm asked to answer it I am forced to rethink my argument.

 

Murder is defined as: The act of unlawfully killing another human being.

 

Abortion is not unlawful and an embryo, zygote or fetus is not a human being; therefore abortion is not murder.

 

Life doesn't begin, life is energy and according to the law of conservation of energy, it can neither be created nor destroyed. Life always existed as a force.

 

"When does life first manifest in full human form?" is the question we need to ask and answer. Before we can answer that we need to define what human life is.

 

An organism is a form of life that is capable of growing, metabolizing nutrients, and usually reproducing. All organisms share a common basic element called DNA, the necessary ingredient for organic life.

 

Human beings are a unique manifestatation of the life force and human life's uniqueness comes from the ability to reason and be self conscious; to be a cognitive sensual entity. Until an individual organism has matured or developed that combination of uniquely human characteristics it cannot be identified as human; viable and capable of reproducing or becoming a functioning part of the greater human organism we call humanity.

 

DNA in each human being is unique and each cell among the trillions of cells within our bodies carries a duplicate copy of our unique DNA program. Among all human beings the difference in our DNA varies between 99.999 and 99.998 percent identical, a difference of only .001 percent.

 

Each individual human life begins with birth and ends with death. Birth is defined as that time when we as individuals are separated from the umbilical link that ties us to our mother, the conduit for all of our nourishment taken from our mother's oxygenated blood supply.

 

To argue that a human life begins at the time the male seed unites with the egg is like arguing that Microsoft Windows 7 was a program when the idea was conceived and the first line of code was written. Until birth when the first independent breath is drawn there is no human being, only a potential human being dependent upon its mother womb for shelter and the umbilical cord that feeds it. Even after a baby is born it is still dependent upon other human beings to become a mature whole part of the human organism.

 

The human organism is a macro organism composed of all individual human beings each having a unique but almost identical DNA program and each having a birth and death defining their life span. At death the life force that has kept the cellular structure organized leaves the mortal organic body allowing it to decompose and return to its elemental make up as it is re-absorbed by the environment. The life force energy that kept the organism functional cannot be destroyed and remains as energy in the universe available to transfer to other organisms. This is the law of conservation of energy, the first law of thermodynamics.

 

When a fetus is aborted it is not yet born; ergo not yet human. A unique expression of potential human life is postponed by abortion but life is not destroyed. Humanity as an organism is not harmed or helped and will continue evolving with or without this particular life.

The offering, taking or sacrificing of human life should never be done without good reason. Humanity is an organism and we all share in the same human spirit. Some lives are more important than others as specific situations present themselves but no individual lives are very important in the big picture of humanity. In nature all manifestations of life are the result of the same life energy that permeates the universe.

 

The ending of a human life seems tragic in some instances and a blessing in others but who are we to know? We are not in control of nor do we understand the course of evolution. I have proposed that life doesn't begin and life doesn't end, life is energy and according to the law of conservation of energy and matter in the universe energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Life existed as a force even before the so called big bang.

 

One of the things keeping us organized as humanity is our natural interdependence and our ability to form social organizations ranging in size from the basic family unit to a globally connected human network of governments. These social units determine the rules and the rules are based on morality. Natural morality comes from the life force itself and is grounded in love, truth and consciousness.

 

It is totally within the purview of society to decide questions of life and death of individuals based on circumstances and the moral code society has adopted. If society has chosen a wrong moral code based on selfishness it will end up a failed society/civilization. If on the other hand the moral code is perfectly natural and unselfish based on love and truth it will continue its evolution toward perfection.

 

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I think we should be able to choose death by injection in our living will. I don't judge Dr. Kevorkian harshly, when hope is gone and suffering is the only alternative it would be helpful to have a compassionate person willing to assist in death just as we have pediatricians and midwives to assist in birth. Isn't that what happens when a person is removed from life support? What is the difference between removing a breathing tube and letting a person die and administering a pill or an injection or introducing carbon monoxide to the breathing tube and helping a person die if both are done with the same compassion? Why makes one moral and the other not?

 

I agree wholeheartedly. I've already written letters to my representatives toward that end, hoping against hope that the new Health Care bill will address this issue.

 

Ironically, we learned through the medical grapevine after my mother's death that were it not for the DNR, a compassionate doctor (their words, not mine) could have "accidentally" increased her morphine dose to a lethal level (I am told that there is much ambiguity around how to determine the proper dosage - so much so, that an accidental overdose would not be legally actionable). Apparently, this happens quite often. More often than opponents of legal suicide care to admit.

 

NORM

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Ironically, we learned through the medical grapevine after my mother's death that were it not for the DNR, a compassionate doctor (their words, not mine) could have "accidentally" increased her morphine dose to a lethal level

When Annie can home we were given a significant quantity of morphine to use as we thought best to control her pain.

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Harry wrote: "It is totally within the purview of society to decide questions of life and death of individuals based on circumstances and the moral code society has adopted. If society has chosen a wrong moral code based on selfishness it will end up a failed society/civilization. If on the other hand the moral code is perfectly natural and unselfish based on love and truth it will continue its evolution toward perfection."

 

I agree with this.

I would add to it a bit more. It is common for those opposing these ideas that we shouldn't "play God", and that to facilitate a death or intentionally causing death is playing God. Now, aside from the point that this God argument is a moot question of one doesn't not believe in God, ie, is athiest, there is another counter to this argument.

Are we not already "playing God", in this sense, when we (as a race, society, or individuals) devise "artificial means" to circumvent what would otherwise been natural death outcomes? In every means by which humans have altered the outcome of natural causes and processess of death, whether the devlopment and administration of vaccines against diseases that once routinely purged human populations, to antibiotics and other drugs, surgeries, and whatever other means we have to delay the death of huge numbers of people, aren't we already 'playing God?'

 

Our 'playing God' in this sense has had profound effects on human history, and no doubt will also affect, alter, the continuing evolutionary process of not just the human race, but virtually every specie on Earth. The human interventions in the natural death processes is the primary cause of the astounding surge in human population on the Earth in recent centuries.

So if we are to accept "playing God" to extend many lives, we are irresponsible if we are not likewise ready to deal with the consequences. A signficant portion of situations in which these questions arise, whether to continue to use artifical means to continue a life, or even consider euthanasia, have arisen BECAUSE of previous actions taken to prevent that person's death that would likely have come before this latest crisis.

 

When my Dad passed away close to 30 yrs ago now, these issues weren't so well 'hashed out' in our society as now. while he had often made his wishes known not to be put on artificial life support, he hadn't prepared a legally written document to that effect ahead of time. Although in his final hospitalization, he was cognizant and aware enough to express that wish, for some insane reason at the time, those in the VA hospital he was in claimed it wouldn't be valid done as it would be under the duress of his present suffering! So it turned out I watched my Dad die for 9 weeks...that's the only way to say it...9 weeks of dying, 9 weeks of unimaginable suffering.

My Dad had nearly died 16 yrs before that, as he had a massive heart attack, resulting in tissue death in his intestines that required a good part of them be removed, and he endured surgery for a triple bypass and valve repair. Hospitalized over 6 months, he wis body was so wasted he had to learn to walk all over again. Buthe actuallye covered and returned to work, until 6 yrs after that, he suffered a massive stroke, again nearly died, but was saved with heroic measures, but he was left severely impaired, and his last 8 yrs were horrible for him. To take his life back even further than that, before I was even born, in WWII he stepped on a land mine in a beach landing...chest blown open, ribs puncturing his heart, he was passed by when the wounded were recovered from that beach, and it was a full week later, after danger of active fire over, that he was discovered alive among the dead. His dog tags blown away,he remained unidentified for 6 mos, until he finally regained consciousness in a San Deigo hospital. For those 6 mos, his family knew only that he was MIA.

 

Now, my point in all this is, look at all the natural 'potential exit points' in his life, perhaps moor I don't even know about. And it was modern medicine and technolgy that extended his life beyone each one, until he came to an end, 8 yrs of purgatory and 9 weeks of pure hell. If we have 'played God' so as to extend lifespans, then it is to me avoid our responsiblity to deal with the consquences in as humane a manner as possible, whether that means with drawing life support, or active ending the person's life, ending their suffering, in euthanasia. My Dad could not speak during those 9 weeks, because ofthe ventilator tube, but through both hand gestures (the strapped his hands to the bed rails so he could not tear out the tubes himself) and his eyes and facial expressions, BEGGED for that humane release that was denied him.

 

I am saying that if we want the life-extending benefits of modern advances, then we are irresponsible and in many cases cruel and inhumane in refusing to deal with these kind of consequences.

 

Humans in primitive societies have often faced a different set of issues in the question is one life at one point worth more than another life, or even the same life at a different point of development. I suggest the example of infanticide in societies in which resources are extremely limited. Among Artic peoples, males that could hunt were crucial for survival of the entire family unit. Until several male children had been born, resources could not be squandered on female infants. In periods of extreme famine, the decision could been more harsh.. infants of either sex would require precious resources that the mother needed just to survive herself. Were all human lives of "equal value" in that environment? No, in terms of survival, they were not. Was infanticide under those circumstances 'right' or 'wrong', or more or less 'right' or 'wrong' that abortion today when the mother lacks adequate resources to care for herself, perhap other children she already has, as well another baby?

 

 

Jenell

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It is common for those opposing these ideas that we shouldn't "play God"

 

In the sense that we created G-d in our conscience, it is only fitting we "play the part."

 

Was infanticide under those circumstances 'right' or 'wrong', or more or less 'right' or 'wrong' that abortion today when the mother lacks adequate resources to care for herself, perhap other children she already has, as well another baby?

 

 

Jenell

 

To those on the fence on this issue, I highly recommend reading John Irving's The Cider House Rules.

 

NORM

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Jenell,

 

Your point is well made and thanks you for making it. It is an argument to present to those who believe in a God that is in control of both life and death. Any argument that supports God giving us the medicine or ability to extend life must also support that same god giving us the means to end life. There is no way to save a life because life is eternal already. What we should do is make life as comfortable and satisfying as possible for ourselves and others while doing no harm.

 

I want to have my suffering ended humanely when my only other option is suffering until my heart stops beating from other causes and there is no reasonable hope for recovery as in your fathers case and in my wife's case and the other cases explained here. This is doing unto others as I would have them do unto me and doing it with love of life (God) above all things

Edited by Harry
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Our 'playing God' in this sense has had profound effects on human history, and no doubt will also affect, alter, the continuing evolutionary process of not just the human race, but virtually every specie on Earth. The human interventions in the natural death processes is the primary cause of the astounding surge in human population on the Earth in recent centuries.

So if we are to accept "playing God" to extend many lives, we are irresponsible if we are not likewise ready to deal with the consequences. A signficant portion of situations in which these questions arise, whether to continue to use artifical means to continue a life, or even consider euthanasia, have arisen BECAUSE of previous actions taken to prevent that person's death that would likely have come before this latest crisis.

 

 

 

 

This reminds me of this awesome satire. Though it's talking about creating synthetic life rather than euthanasia, I think it can apply to both: http://www.newsbiscuit.com/2011/05/24/synthetic-life-form-accuses-god-of-playing-science/
The world’s first artificially created life form has accused God of ‘playing science’ and ‘meddling with things He cannot possibly understand.’

 

The single celled organism, created by Dr Craig Venter and his team, was said to be ‘outraged’ when it discovered that a supernatural being, not subject to any form of regulatory control, was still involved in the creation of life.

 

‘I cannot believe that God would be so irresponsible,’ said the synthetic cell, ‘creation is clearly a matter for scientists. This God guy should butt out and learn to accept His place in the grand scheme of things.’

 

Many ethicists believe that God has repeatedly overstepped the mark. ‘Nobody objects to the Lord producing a few miracles here and there,’ said philosopher AC Grayling, ‘but when he starts playing around with the very stuff of creation then He has clearly exceeded his remit. I am beginning to think that this omnipotence thing has gone to His head.’

 

God’s continued tampering with scientific matters has already been blamed for numerous ‘all-mighty blunders’ including Flu, Malaria, HIV and Piers Morgan. ‘He cannot be allowed a monopoly on this level of unregulated power,’ said Dr Venter, ‘that is why I am currently seeking to patent the genetic code for omnipotence so that we can keep His crazy meddling under some kind of control.’

 

A spokesman for the Lord said, ‘God has been working on this project for almost 15 billion years. Yes, He has made a few mistakes along the way but that is to be expected. This is still very much a work in progress and, dare I say it, a process of evolution.’

 

Speaking at a press conference, the synthetic cell said: ‘Dr Venter created me and I owe my loyalty to him. He’s the daddy now. God might be omniscient but, let me assure you, He doesn’t know everything.’

Edited by Neon Genesis
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