The Church and Euthanasia

Essay by tekkeninaA-, April 2005

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Euthanasia, meaning "well death" in Greek, is deliberately bringing about a person's death for the purposes of eliminating suffering. Just like abortion, euthanasia is purposely taking away the life of a human being, except this time the consent of the person may be given for this procedure, but not all the time. Someone may want to end their life because they are suffering so much that they just want it to end. Also, that person's family may take the steps to cause their death because they love that person so much that they do not want to see them suffer anymore or endure anymore pain. Another reason why an individual or their family may decide to perform euthanasia is because the expenses for keeping that person alive may be getting too high to pay for.

There are two different kinds of euthanasia. They are active or direct euthanasia, and passive or indirect euthanasia. Active or direct euthanasia is deliberately taking the steps to end the life of a suffering and incurably ill person. In this category there are involuntary euthanasia, meaning the patient cannot decide for themselves, and voluntary euthanasia. Active euthanasia is the direct and intentional taking of life. Passive or indirect euthanasia is deliberately not taking the steps to prevent an ill person's death, with the intention that this action of withholding will result in their death. The consent of the patient may or may not be given depending on their condition. An example of this kind of euthanasia would be when the parents of a Down's syndrome newborn withhold from letting the baby have a special surgery be performed on them, and having the intent that the child does not survive because of this.

Another type of euthanasia is physician-assisted suicide, a...