Dear Sister Mary Rose,

Seeing how we were never formally introduced in class, my name is Sean O. I was a bit confused on the Catholic position on euthanasia before you came into Mr. Geib's class because the only time we talked about the stance of the Catholic's was in a letter written by Franjo Card. Seper but now I feel that I have a firm grasp on the Catholic's stance due to the thorough and rather interesting speech that you presented in class.

The Catholic church has a rather strict and unrelenting view on any type of euthanasia unless "extraordinary measures" are involved and that view would be the absolute prevention of it. To quote Card. Seper when referring to euthanasia, "Intentionally causing one's own death, or suicide, is therefore equally as wrong as murder; such an action on the part of a person is to be considered as a rejection of God's sovereignty and loving plan." Card. Seper says this but does he really believe that people suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease or another ailment equally as horrifying is part of God's 'loving' plan? How can it be that God wanted that person to not be able to move, breathe, or intake their own nutrition voluntarily without a feeding tube or respirator? If you consider this not be a part of God's 'loving' plan since it's such a terrifying malady, is it then ok for them to CHOOSE to end their own life? In class you said, "Only if extraordinary measures exist," you then went on to say that someone with a feeding tube inserted directly into their stomach so they can get nutrients and a respirator forcing them to breathe does not fall under the category of "extraordinary" here in America but it does in Africa. If everyone is a child of God does that just mean that God is playing favorites among the citizens of America and singling out the citizens of Africa? Card. Seper also states, "For it is a question of the violation of the divine law, an offence against the dignity of the human person, a crime against life, and an attack on humanity." This statement suggests that accepting euthanasia as a way out actually demeans a person and basically guarantees them their own special spot in Hell. Card. Seper also says, "Life is a gift of God, and on the other hand death is unavoidable it is necessary therefore that we, without in any way hastening the hour of death, should be able to accept it with full responsibility and dignity." Basically saying that the Catholic church is against euthanasia as whole and under no circumstances is it alright.

The life of Alison Davis is one that falls under the jurisdiction of euthanasia. Alison Davis was born with myelomeningocele spina bifida, a "severe physical disability which is irreversible." Davis argues that even though she was born with this disability, she was still able to find enjoyment in life and live it to the fullest, being able to travel the world with her husband. She says "Despite my disability I went to an ordinary school and then to university, where I gained an honours degree in sociology." She also argues that other disabled people should not be able to have the option of opting out through euthanasia as it will devalue her's and every other disabled person's life. Similarly, she states that eventually killing a handicapped person of any age would become decriminalized and America would soon become "Hitler's Germany". What she doesn't realize is that her disease is one that allows her to be rather mobile since the only type of aid she requires is that of a wheelchair while other, more disabled, people require respirators or similar machines disallowing any kind of movement, and therefore any of the fulfilling activities that Davis describes in her article.

Chris Hill had a similar disability, but he wasn't born with it. He had the life that every young man has dreamed of; travelling across the world, hang gliding, and having sex with any woman that he wanted to. However, after a hang gliding accident, Hill was, "paralyzed from the chest down, more than three-quarters dead." Everything that he had come to know and love - gone. His view on euthanasia was the exact opposite of the Catholic church's and Davis's. Hill believed that, "tomorrows were nothing but a grey void of bleak despair." He was in the camp that it was his choice to use euthanasia and die before his natural time. He even went as far to compare his new quality of life to that of a sick and dying animal, he argued that animals suffering through even part of what he was going through were put down, yet doctors didn't give him the choice of whether or not he wanted to use euthanasia as a way out. Even though he couldn't go to the bathroom voluntarily or naturally, he tried to live life as a quadriplegic. He said that he worked harder than he ever had at anything before to live but he, "hated every second of it with a passion I'd never felt before." He felt so strongly that it was his right to die that he actually killed himself and left behind a suicide note addressed to his family.
In the Netherlands active voluntary euthanasia is legal and readily available for anyone who qualifies for its use. Pieter Admiraal, Senior Anesthetist at the Reinier de Graaf Gashuis in the Dutch city of Delft, not only advocates euthanasia, he performs active voluntary euthanasia. Pient because it is, "...the last dignified act of terminal care." One of Pieter's patients with multiple sclerosis perfectly illustrates this point when she says, "I've even got to call somebody if there's a fly on my face. This is senseless and cruel, and I want to die as soon as possible." Pieter's statement that active euthanasia is indeed the last dignified act of terminal care is spot on in this case. Would her life have been dignified if she had to call every time spittle dribbled out of her mouth or a fly landed on her face? The simple answer is no. Pieter truly believes that active voluntary euthanasia is a dignified act that is for the good of the patient and lets them end life on their own terms.ter believes that sometimes euthanasia is exactly what is required, when a patient can no longer bare the pain because anesthetics no longer have any effect or they become tired of living solely off of the machines plugged into them and can no longer live on their own. He also believes that, "Very often passive euthanasia is morally worse than active euthanasia." This goes completely against the Catholic church because the church believes that if a person wishes to die by discontinuing "extraordinary measures" then it has to be done passively without the doctor directly causing the patient's death. Pieter thinks that it is actually a doctor's duty to perform active voluntary euthanasia on a patie

Now for my personal opinion.

Clint Eastwood's actions in Million Dollar Baby were completely justifiable seeing that the girl wanted him to end her life and that she actually made several attempts on her own life, showing just how much she wanted it all to end. While many disabled persons openly protested this movie and everything that it stood for, I think that they were over thinking it. In no way does that movie actually encourage people to start killing disabled persons as they had suggested. I also applaud doctor Kevorkian's actions, he was willing to do openly what most doctors won't do secretly, provide dying patients with an easy way out. He personally reviewed their files, rejecting 90% of the people that asked him for help, knowing that these people were not what he considered "terminally ill" but could continue to live a long life.
I think that everyone should have the right to choose how and when they want to die. No one wants to die not being able to live off of their own power; attached to a bunch of machines. Euthanasia is a tool readily accessible for humans to use, why not use it? Some handicapped individuals argue that euthanasia is a slippery slope and in the case of Alison Davis might cause America to become "Hitler's Germany" in which handicapped people are readily slaughtered for being just that- handicapped. But what would make them think that? The only type of euthanasia being performed currently is in cases in which the individual has given up on life and has ASKED to die, in no cases are doctors actually running around mercy killing patients for no reason. Even more bizarre than that is Catholic church's stance on euthanasia. Not only do they disagree with it but they want to self impose their ideals on every single person in the world as if their ideas are so much better than every other person's. The church doesn't openly admit to it but it is easily seen through the way that they voice their opposition to euthanasia. Just because they believe that euthanasia is some evil thing that will bring the world crumbling down into hell doesn't mean that other people do. I mean what's their stance on letting people choose what they want to do with their lives? If you don't allow people to make their own choices then what makes them different from a cult that brainwashes all of its members? All in all, I believe that patients should have the right to choose when and how they die and if euthanasia is required to satisfy their needs then so be it.

Sean O