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Euthanasia continued....

DEFINITIONS

If euthanasia were allowed it could be carried out in several ways:
Active euthanasia. This would be by a positive act to bring about death by directly administering a drug.

Passive euthanasia. This would involve the withdrawal of treatment (or food) so as to hasten death. Involuntary euthanasia. The ending of a person's life without any indication that such was the wish of the person concerned.

Voluntary euthanasia. The ending of a person's life at their request. A law to allow this is what pressure groups are wanting.

Non-voluntary euthanasia. This involves the ending of the life of a person who does not have the faculty to make a decision whether to live or die.

Suicide. This is a form of self-administered euthanasia and is an act of self-destruction. Since 1961 suicide is no longer a felony, but to assist someone to do so is still an offence. There was the case of a Mrs Pretty who requested permission from the Courts (including the European Court of Human Rights) for her husband to take her life, but was refused. She did die a few months afterwards.

The definition of suicide has not changed, but the public's attitude to it has changed. It is becoming recognised as an act of self-release, but it is still self-killing. The stigma surrounding it has largely ceased, and very often the Coroner's verdict carries a compassionate tone. It may be described as the taking of life, "whilst the balance of mind was disturbed"

Living Wills. This is an advance directive (given when the person concerned is of a sound mind) which stipulates the health, management and treatment that they wish to receive in the event of any future incapacity to make such decisions, nor be able to convey any instructions when such circumstances arise. The document can also stipulate what treatment they do not wish to receive, eg resuscitation. There is however an eventuality that a Living Will does not (and cannot) cover; that is when the time comes and they wish to revoke the former decision but have not the facility to convey the change of mind. Such cases would probably be rare.

Index to the Topic
A Definition
A Biblical Perspective
The Big Debate
The Dangers
Alternatives
Christian Responsibility 

Other Material
1. Ethics Essay: Euthanasia; Should we/Shouldn't we?


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