Filipino Nurses: Is the right to life the right to end life (euthanasia)?

I came across an article in the blog Filipino Nurses, entitled “Right to End Life (Euthanasia).

The first argument is that for animals in serious injury or illness that couldn’t be cured, the and “humanely” thing to do is to “put them to sleep.”  So, the argument goes, the same should also be true for humans.

There is no such thing as animal rights co-equal with human rights because animal rights are what humans bestow on animals.  Once we lose our biblical moorings, our philosophical arguments goes adrift.  When God made Adam and Eve, God gave them “dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth” (Gen 1:28).  After the Great Flood, God told Noah:

Fear and dread of you shall come upon all the animals of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon all the creatures that move about on the ground and all the fishes of the sea; into your power they are delivered. 3b Any living creature that moves about shall be yours to eat; I give them all to you as I did the green plants. 4c Only meat with its lifeblood still in it you shall not eat.* 5Indeed for your own lifeblood I will demand an accounting: from every animal I will demand it, and from a human being, each one for the blood of another, I will demand an accounting for human life.d(Gen 9:2-5)

If you are going to kill your animal to eat it, God allows you to do it. If you want to kill your animal to put an end to its suffering, the Bible does not explicitly say, but it appears you can do it.  But if you are going to kill a man to end his suffering that is another story: God explicitly forbids it, because, as God told Noah, God will demand an accounting for every human life whose blood was shed by another man.  Thus, mercy-killing or euthanasia of another man is wrong.

This is what the Cathechism of the Catholic Church teaches about Euthanasia:

Euthanasia

2276 Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.

2277 Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.

Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.

2278 Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of “over-zealous” treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one’s inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.

2279 Even if death is thought imminent, the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted. The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable Palliative care is a special form of disinterested charity. As such it should be encouraged.

Filipino nurses and doctors needs to read carefully these words of the Catechism, because Church defines what are morally and not morally acceptable forms of treatment.  These statements are rooted in 5th Commandment: Thou shalt not kill.  As stated in the original Hippocratic Oath:

I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.

I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.

But I will preserve the purity of my life and my arts.

In this time of Lent, Jesus shows us that the path to human happiness is not by spurning the cross but embracing it.  Suffering, when united to the suffering of Christ, becomes redemptive.

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Reproductive Health Bill: How to treat humans like dogs by spaying and neutering them

I.  Spaying and Neutering

I was reading about spaying and neutering of dogs and other animals in Wikipedia.  For females, the ovaries and/or uterus are removed.  This is called spaying.  For males, the standard neutering method is castration: the penis is cut off.  Other methods of neutering are via contraceptives:

  • Male dogs – Neutersol (Zinc gluconate neutralized by arginine). Cytotoxic; produces infertility by chemical disruption of the testicle. It is now produced as Esterilsol in Mexico.[42]
  • Male rats – Adjudin (analogue of indazole-carboxylic acid), induces reversible germ cell loss from the seminiferous epithelium by disrupting cell adhesion function between nurse cells and immature sperm cells, preventing maturation.
  • Male sheep and pigs – Wireless Microvalve.[43] Using a piezoelectric polymer that will deform when exposed to a specific electric field broadcast from a key fob (like a car alarm) the valve will open or close, preventing the passage of sperm, but not seminal fluid. Located in a section of the vas deferens that occurs just after the epididymis, the implantation can be carried out by use of a hypodermic needle.
  • Female mammals – Vaccine of antigens (derived from purified Porcine zona pellucida) encapsulated in liposomes (cholesterol and lecithin) with an adjuvant, latest US patent RE37,224 (as of 2006-06-06), CA patent 2137263 (issued 1999-06-15). Product commercially known as SpayVac,[44] a single injection causes a treated female mammal to produce antibodies that bind to ZP3 on the surface of her ovum, blocking sperm from fertilizing it for periods from 22 months up to 7 years (depending on the animal[45][46]). This will not prevent the animal from going into heat (ovulating) and other than birth control, none of the above mentioned advantages or disadvantages apply.

The reason why human owners spay and neuter their dogs is because of the inconvenience of having a dog litter–the danger of overpopulation in so little house space.  The owners don’t also like that their dogs behave like dogs in mating season: urinate, mount, and copulate.

I wonder if human owners ever asked their dogs whether they like to be spayed and neutered in the first place.  This goes against the very nature of dogs.  This is very inhumane and uncanine.  Animal rights activists should protest against spaying and neutering of dogs.

Now, the proponents of the Reproductive Health Bill are similar to dog owners in that they cannot afford to have another dog or human in the house.  By raising the spectre of overpopulation, the proponents of the RH Bill wants to limit the number of children to two.  To achieve this, they have to neuter many Filipinos, especially the poor, by promoting the use of condoms and contraceptive pills through sex education starting at the Grade 5 level, giving them free contraceptives at government’s expense, and subsidizing their sterilization surgical procedures.  The message to the poor is clear: “Stop littering the streets with your hungry children.  We don’t want you in the Philippines.”

II. How to treat humans as humans

I was watching the Dog Whisperer in National Geographic.  Caesar Millan, the man who knows more about dog psychology than anybody else in boob tube (now flat screen), tells us one fundamental principle: “Do not treat your dogs as human beings.  Treat dogs as dogs.  It is the humans who must lead dogs and not vice-versa.”

In case of the Reproductive Health Bill, I say this: Do not treat humans as dogs.  Treat humans as humans.  Humans need to be led to what is right and wrong.  Who shall tell the human what is right and wrong?  The congressmen and senators who think they are more intelligent than a poor boy from the province?  Dogs must be led by a higher intelligence (man), and humans must also be led by a higher intelligence (God).

God is not a theoretical concept, but a being who intervened in human history, who promulgated his laws in the Ten Commandments.  And when the fullness of time came, God sent His Son born of a woman, in order to become a role model for all of us.  Christ is the way that we must follow, the truth that we must believe, the life that we must live.  When Christ departed from this world, He did not leave us orphans but sent the Holy Spirit to guide his Church–the Pope, bishops, priests, and laity–into all truth.  In matters of Faith and Morals, the Catholic Church could not err, because God Himself, Christ, promised to Peter and his apostles: “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Mt 16:19)” No other human institution has this divine seal.

Let us pray the Cong. Lagman, Cong. Hontiveros Baraquel, and Sen. Santiago would listen to the voice of the Catholic Church.