Euthanasia is also known as assisted suicide, physician-assisted suicide/dying, doctor-assisted suicide/dying, and more loosely termed mercy killing. It basically means to take a deliberate action with the express intention of ending a life to relieve intractable (persistent, unstoppable) suffering.

  • Voluntary euthanasia is presumed to be conducted with consent, though some speculate if this is really the case given the complexity and ambiguity of today’s end-of-life documents or the mental state of the patient in question.
  • Involuntary euthanasia is conducted without consent; the decision is made by another person because the patient is incapable to doing so himself/herself (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/182951.php). It should be clear, however, that if death is not intended, it is not an act of euthanasia.

Simply put: euthanasia involves killing the patient to eliminate the pain, while normal end-of-life care involves eliminating the pain so that the patient can die painlessly, from natural causes, such as disease or old age.

Nobody is against eliminating the pain when a patient is dying, but everyone should be against killing the patient as a means of eliminating pain. Some people think they are for euthanasia because they are in favor of allowing a patient to refuse treatment for a terminal illness. However, refusing treatment is not euthanasia. If you have cancer and refuse chemotherapy, you will die, but the cause of death is the cancer, not the doctor or yourself.

We call it euthanasia when a doctor or someone else intentionally causes your death or aids you in committing suicide in some way (eg. prescribing or providing pills with the intent of helping you to kill yourself), before your death occurs naturally by disease or by old age. This is something everyone should be against, in every circumstance.

We at NH Right to Life oppose all forms of suicide, assisted or not, because of the self-evident truth that Life is an inalienable right. No individual can have the right to terminate himself or another person because only God, who created that human life, has that authority. The arguments for euthanasia focus on one’s autonomy, to decide for one’s self whether or not to receive treatment / on societal compassion for those suffering from intractable pain. We see life as a gift from God over which each person has stewardship, not ownership; hence the inalienable right to life.

For further discussion of terms see http://www.religioustolerance.org/euth1.htm