Let’s Talk Euthanasia

Photo courtesy of worldmag.com

Warning: If anyone is squeamish about the topic of death, stop reading now. 

I am in a Contemporary Morals Philosophy class where we discuss many of the moral issues of today such as the death penalty, abortion, and euthanasia.

Today was the beginning of our discussion of euthanasia, and let me tell you, what a way to start off a Friday morning.

Our professor put in a film for us to watch called How to Die in Oregon. Oregon is one of the few states in the United States where you can legally end your life by medication. It’s called the Death by Dignity law. This film highlighted people who have either chosen to end their life and are in the process of getting the medication to do so, or those who had people close to them chose to end their life by this method.

I was literally speechless watching this film. I found myself with my mouth hanging open at some of the things I was seeing. I would look around the room to see if other students had the same expression on their faces because some of the things said in this documentary were just outright bizarre.

Many times I teared up listening to these people’s stories. Other times I wanted to turn around and ask my teacher if I could leave because my stomach was doing flips.

I want to emphasize the fact that I am writing based on my own opinion on the matter and respect and welcome  others’ opinions on this topic, as well. However, seeing just half of this film made me realize that I am really repulsed by the idea of “death by dignity”.

We walked out of the classroom when the class was over and I turned to BF and said “I hated that! I wanted to leave the classroom after the first scene!” (The first scene showed an older man taking the medication to end his life, and then watching him pass away slowly).

Right now I’m at a loss for words and feel really horrible after watching that.

Has anyone else seen this documentary?

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4 comments

  1. kcasrkev1 · · Reply

    Samantha, I agree with Bill and your sister. To actually see a loved one go through some of the things that they end up having to in life makes me really feel for them. Just pray that it never happens to you, but the thing is, why is the government trying to tell you what you can and cannot do with your life? I feel that my good friends over at the FDA have more than a little something to do with it, along with their insurance bedfellows. Don’t get me started on those idiots!

    1. Yeah can definitely see where they are coming from. I guess if I were in that serious enough pain I’d probably want the option to choose, too. Like I said, it might have been too early in the morning to see something like this without a little warning. We have continued the discussion in class and hearing both sides helps. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  2. Yes, I’ve watched that film and it is uncomfortable, which is perhaps its purpose. But as someone more than three times your age, I’ve come to understand that life can be very cruel and death even crueler, and in some circumstances, death itself is not the worst thing that can happen.

    Realize also that the kinds of deaths shown in the film are rare even in Oregon, where fewer than one-half of 1% of all annual deaths occur pursuant to their Death with Dignity law. But you could certainly see that for the cases shown, everything was by the voluntary choice of the patient. I would be marching in the streets in protest if such a thing could be imposed on someone against their will, say by some government policy about the worth of person A’s life person B’s.

    That’s what is commonly meant by euthanasia, and it is deeply wrong. What is shown in the film is not that at all, it’s about individual liberty and autonomy. Please recognize the difference, enjoy to the fullest your life and health while you have it, and hope that as those things eventually wind down, you never have to wish you lived in Oregon.

    1. Bill, Thanks so much for your comment. It was definitely an eye-opening film that I really wasn’t prepared to watch yesterday morning. It’s true that these people were all willingly doing this act for one reason or another. I just find it heartbreaking that they were either in so much pain or whatever it was that they felt the need to end their life before it naturally happened. Seeing their family members in the film also made it pretty hard to watch.

      I appreciate your words, and in fact, my sister and I were discussing this last night and she said the same thing you did. Y’all both help me understand it a little bit better. Thanks again!

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