Dear Sister Mary Rose,

My name is Nikhel P. and before I began, I’d like to thank you for giving my Bioethics class an opportunity to engage in a discussion regarding the Catholic point of view. Your opinion was very informative and definitely patched up some of my concerns about the Catholic religion. Not only was it a memorable experience listening to you, sister, but even more so, it was an opportunity for me to acquire more knowledge and insight on the issue of euthanasia.

As you made apparent to our class, the Catholic religion does not support Euthanasia by any means. I understand that “no one can make an attempt on the life of an innocent person without opposing God’s love for that person, without violating a fundamental right.” I understand that the Catholic point of view and assertion that everybody’s life is predestined by God and violating this by any means, which includes active and passive euthanasia is unethical. “Everybody has the duty to lead his or her life in accordance with God’s plan… must bear fruit already here on earth, but that finds its full perfection only in eternal life.” By no means, whether fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, may someone “permit the killing of a innocent human being.” On the contrary, no one can ask for “this act of killing” regardless if its for himself or herself or somebody else. The Catholics believe that pleas for euthanasia are not truly implying and asking for this, but rather love. They believe love; “the human, supernatural warmth” is essential to be surrounded by in disastrous times.

People who happen to have unfortunate disabilities tend to side with the Catholic church. For example, Allison Davis, who has a severe case of myelomeningocele spina bifida, doesn’t mean we should devalue people’s lives due to their disability nor should be think of them as “less than we are.” When she was born, her parents were told by the doctors “to go home and have another.” Her parents’, disregarding the doctor’s assertion, was “given the chance to defy the odds and live.” She states, “Who could say I have ‘no worthwhile quality of life’?” who matter in fact happened to go to an ordinary school and university, acquiring a degree in sociology. I understand how she believes that euthanasia undermines her right to life, giving her a lesser value of life. Her motivates are simply understandable, to value and cherish life, disability or not as she believes a full and happy life is attainable.

On the contrary, Chris Hill was an adventurer and lived his life to the fullest till one day; an accident changed his life forever. After a hang-gliding accident, which was nothing but a “grey void of bleak despair,” Chris Hill was paralyzed from the chest down, “more than three quarters dead.” Due to this accident, Mr. Hill wasn’t able to do what he loved to do anymore which included a wide variety of things. His life became a source of “endless frustration” and he couldn’t do the simplest of tasks which included taking a “shit or pissing.” All his pleasures, and everything he loved and enjoyed doing were stripped from him and “replaced by a hellish living nightmare.” After constantly fighting for his life, on February 10, 1993, Chris took his life with the only intention of reliving his life from misery. Before he died in his note he claimed, “Suicide is not a crime and I have the right not to be handled or treated against my will.. Anyone who disregards this notice will be committing a civil and criminal offense against me.”

Voluntary active Euthanasia has become legal and “normal” in the Netherlands. This is the Dutch way of doing things because the doctors believe it’s “morally right, as not only compatible with the properly understood duties and responsibilities of a doctor, but as an act sometimes required by them.” Failure to practice voluntary euthanasia is what they believe to some extents as “to fail the patient.” Although the Dutch and Catholic Church agree, “the patient’s wish should be respected,” the fine line is drawn from conclusions as to why the patient would like euthanasia. Is it just a patient’s cry for help and lack of palliative care or is it really what the patient wants? These types of decisions are very controversial, particularly patients’ who are in a permanent vegetative states because nobody truly knows what the patient wants besides the patient. “It would be improper for doctor or other health care professionals to impose their values and their understanding of pain or suffering on the patient” as the patient is the only one to that can decide when enough is enough.

Through my eyes, euthanasia represents a dignified death, an opportunity to leave without any unnecessary pain and suffering, an out that I would certainly hope to be offered if I would ever need it. Euthanasia represents convenience in the most untimely matters; even though there is no monetary value on life, euthanasia provides solace for not only the wanting individual but for loved ones too when it comes to financial entities, burdening, and distress.

Although I take the Catholic view into full consideration, nobody knows what the patient goes through, except the patient. I think it’s absolutely cowardly to let people suffer. There’s obviously a fine line that you draw, whether you think the patient will have a miraculous recovery or will stay in the suffering state. Yes, miracles do happen, but how likely are they to happen?

In the Million Dollar Baby, the boxer becomes a boxing goddess, but one incident and fall changes her life forever. She, like Chris Hill, cannot do the things that she would have been able to do if she was fully recovered. Yes, I do agree that things happen and that’s life, but if you’re limited to what you can and cannot due, I also believe that you shouldn’t have to bear that type of suffering and distress if you don’t want too.

In regards to Terry Schiavo’s case, things were just complicated, especially due to the fact that advanced directives were not given. Schiavo was in a permanent vegetative state due to severe brain damage being involved in a horrid accident. I believe the ex-husband was correct in ending her life. Although I agree with where the family members were coming from, showing videos of her responding, as to show that she’s alive, the family did not understand the misery she had to put up with.

Dr. Kevorkian, although as crazy as he is, has gained my respect and I agree with him to some extent. Performing voluntary euthanasia on patients’ who wanted it done to them was a gutsy move to say the least, but I feel as though he was right in pursuing “euthanasia” strictly abiding my the written rules of the federal government.

One thing that should be required by the law is as soon as one turns 18, an advance directive should be written in case of a life threatening accident, which puts you into a permanent vegetative state. This allows NO controversy with what to do with you when you’re in that state.

I believe euthanasia should be legal. Like I stated before, nobody should be able to go through pain and suffering, especially patients in permanent vegetative states and those who are terminally ill. Yes I do understand “Gods plan” and all, but I don’t believe suffering and pain is part of any plan. What if part of the plan is to pull the plug? Only people who are terminally ill and have an assurance of zero recovery possibilities should be able to commit euthanasia.