Dear Sister Mary Rose of Saint Bonaventure,

Good morning, afternoon or evening Sister depending on if and when you read this. We were never formally introduced but my name is George and I am a student in Mr. Geib’s 6th period Bioethics class you visited a few weeks back. Id like to begin this with saying thank you so much for donating your time to our classroom and enlightening us on the Catholic church’s stance regarding euthanasia first hand. Through our reading I did not quite fully understand the Catholic perspective and having you in class my listening to you speak helped close the gaps.

As I have come to understand the Catholic Church is loudly anti-euthanasia. Through the explanations and ideology you graciously shared and the reading we have done in class I am confident in drawing this conclusion. From your presentation I gathered that the church is adamant that no “extraordinary means” should be practiced with patients of all varieties. “Everyone has the duty to lead his or her life in accordance with God’s plan” the Declaration on Euthanasia states and the extraordinary means you expressed directly violate this duty. God’s plan for us already has a date in mind where the lord will say to us enough is enough and we may then pass from our physical form, euthanasia in your view cheats god of this slot of history he has carved out for you. This act is defies God, this act is sinful.

The Church’s stance on killing can easily summed up as “Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, and infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying.” As defined by the Church, euthanasia is a breach of this religious doctrine. In the eyes of the church euthanasia these days is seemingly the epitome of all things sinful and evil. The mere act of asking for release by euthanasia is unpermitted. These aspects of euthanasia are what I stuck out to me and how I understand it as.

Are you aware of the case of a Ms. Alison Davis? Alison, like the Church, is against euthanasia and believes that if legalized it brings certain complications. Alison’s life itself is a complicated story. She is clinically diagnosed with spina bifida that has stained her life with one the hardest obstacles to overcome. Davis has survived with this illness, lived as a disabled individual in a circumstance that if unfortunately plagued with most people would seek help from a doctor to end their pain, their suffering, their misery. Alison believes that if this aid is legalized nationally, perhaps globally, it will devalue her life and the loves of the disabled population of earth.

In respect of a past bill, Davis interpreted the bill as stating that she has “no worthwhile quality of life”. Alison is of the mind that if pro-euthanasia legislation passes the value of life drastically decreases because it has become easy enough to requisition the end to one’s life. When asking for death becomes as easy as buying candy from a story life’s worth hits rock bottom according to Davis. Using herself as an example, Davis argues that you can live a long and happy life despite an abnormality that may besiege your body and that no one should be able to determine for you that your life has no worthwhile quality or meaning.

Analogously there is the story of Chris Hill, a lawyer that lived life to the fullest and tragically fractured his spine becoming paralyzed from the chest down. Chris’ beliefs regarding euthanasia are affected by his own life’s tragedy; Chris is a proponent of the right to die. Chris eventually found a away to euthanize himself and brought about an end to his life, leaving a will behind for his loved ones explaining why he did as he did. Chris characterized his paralysis as a permanent condition leaving him “three-quarters dead” and three-quarters the man he used to be. Chris argues that if the quality of one’s life has been significantly reduced due to catastrophic injury or a terminal illness then you should have the ability to ask a doctor to end the pain and suffering and free you from a horrible life. “People kill animals to put them out of their misery if they’re suffering evena tiny part of what I had to put up with, but I was never given the choice of a dignified death and I was very bitter about that” is an excerpt from Chris’ will that embodies the emotionally pain Chris feels because he cant end his life. He expands on this by stating that “the medical profession’s attitude of life at any cost was an inhumane presumption that amounted to arrogance”. Chris finds it unfair of any doctor to deny the right of a patient to want an end to their suffering. Through his suffering many people told Chris that he needs to live through the turmoil. “It’s a challenge, many of you said. Bullshit. My life was just a miserable existence, an awful parody of normalcy” were the words Chris used to respond to those telling him to live through it. He does not want to live through it so he should be able to say I am done with my life.

There are people in the world that would help individuals such as Chris Hill bring about their release. In the Netherlands euthanasia is no taboo subject. Many doctors of the Netherlands are proponents of the right to die movement actively aiding those who want an end to their pain and suffering. Now the doctors of the Netherlands do not go running around injecting needles into people and causing them to overdose on morphine, there are clinics in the Netherlands where people like Pieter Admiraal would gladly perform the rites to end one’s agony. When confronted with a patient asking for a dignified death, Pieter sees a patients request for euthanasia as “a cry for help – prompted perhaps by shortcomings in the delivery of palliative care”. In the eyes of Dutch doctors like Admiraal humans have the right to choose when enough is enough and that “it would be quite improper for doctors or other health care professionals to impose their values and their understandings of pain or suffering on the patient”. Doctors do not have the right to say this patient can and will live with this burden; people have the right so say I can not go on.

Pieter argues that in life there are so many ways that can lead one to become so distraught that they no longer wish to live. In one such case he was involved in, Pieter sat with a woman who described her will to die because she could not be a mother to her daughter. “I’ve not held her in my arms for years; she never had a real mother who could walk with her in the park, feeding ducks and doing similar things… I can’t even buy a present for her; I can’t educate her” all of which were circumstances this women argued that she no longer wished to live. As a doctor Pieter had to be sure that his patient had a sincere desire to want to die and when she and her family confirmed this he gladly aided this woman in need. Pieter’s rule of thumb is that “no patient – no matter how ill – will have his or her life cut short, unless there is an explicit request. Active voluntary euthanasia is but one more way of delivering humane medical care.” Dutch doctors throughout the Netherlands all agree that a clear moral and legal boundary can be drawn around euthanasia and the notion of consent for it. For everybody on this earth it is “the basic human right to say: ‘Enough is enough. I want to die with my dignity intact. Please help me’” and if there is cooperation in this effort lines can be drawn and this humane aid can be structured for easier access and use.

Now for the grandiose that is my own opinion.

The right to die is a basic aspect of human life we all have, euthanasia is a necessary tool that should be able to be employed.

I am a man of faith and I do not mean to come off to strong but I personally believe that the Catholic Church’s stance is incredibly selfish. Just as Pieter said it is improper of people of doctors to impose their beliefs unto patients I think it is selfish of the church to impose its beliefs unto everybody on this planet. I am a Christian boy born and raised, I am baptized and hold in my heart that God is my savior, and I do not believe euthanasia is defying him. God wants the best for his children, he wants them to leave full and happy lives and I know God does not take sides but I feel as though he is pro-euthanasia. If his child can no longer bear their burden he allows them to say Father I can not go on please allow me to come to you sooner than expected. His son Chris Hill could not go on being a paraplegic so he allowed his son to come to his side sooner than previously planned. The church says that we should not tamper with life to upset god’s chosen date for us, which sounds like predestination to me. I do not believe that cares whether we go to him a few weeks early or suffer the disease till the end, he loves us the same and an early death by euthanasia will not upset him.

Alison Davis believes that legalization of euthanasia will devalue the life of the disabled and terminally ill, that all of a sudden now that people can say I want to die society is seeing them as people with no or poor quality of life. To be blunt, no one thinks that, and if they do they are probably sadistic jerks that don’t care for humans, period. We are not devaluing your life because we are giving you the right to die, we are giving you the easy way out if you can not bear your suffering. Don’t be euthanized if you do not want to, we are not forcing you to do anything. Comparing us to Nazi Germany is not accomplishing anything. If you feel you can not go on any more then you should be able to say “I want to die” and if you can go on say “I can fight this longer”. By all means I applaud you for carrying on and living your life the best you can but I do not look down on you if you can not take it any longer. Its quality of life, not quantity, that’s important in this world, live your life as happy and long as you can and once that reaches an all time low its okay to say enough is enough. Take for example the case of Ramon Sanpedro. This is a man who suffered long enough and said enough is enough. After learning his story I fully comprehended his situation and believed him justified in the ending of his life, Ramon was fully aware of the decision he was making and ended his turmoil.

One of the newest tools society has to offer that I am in full support of is the Advanced Directive. An advanced directive is drawn out by the person to match the individual's decisions should they ever become unable to make their own conscious decisions whether they be comatose or in a permanent vegetative state. The contents of an AD include whether to be resuscitated should the heart fail or to be attached to a feeding tube should they not be able to feed themselves, the code and procedure of an AD is solid and is a highly effective method. An AD would prove useful in such cases like Terri Schiavo, a husk of a woman in a permanent vegetative state. The judicial cases regarding what to do with Terri and the legal process between husband and family could have been avoided had Terri had an AD. Advanced directives can save enormous amounts of unnecessary trouble for loved ones because an individual can help the doctors to just cut to the chase and either help the patient in any way they can or obey the AD.

Well here you are sister, this is my stance on euthanasia. Its the antithesis of yours and even called yours out but it is my own. Shrug it off as nothing more than a factual piece followed by a mellow rant written by a young man or accept it for what it is, sensible.


Sincerely,
George