Mercy Killing — What Are Our Duties When The Time Comes To End The Suffering?

Life it's a wonderful thing! A future promise of pleasure, joy, happiness and love. But, in rare cases ending the suffering of a loved one takes priority over extending their lives. We agonize over it. It's so troubling because it involves a conflict between our human values, especially when life's circumstances turns that life into something heartbreaking, something hopeless, a burdensome existence, full of suffering, pain and despair, where death is more desirable than life. What is our duty when we morally are forbidden to kill? How do we show mercy?

We have a term for it, we call it,"Mercy Killing," while we insist that we make every effort to guard against abuse. That's when it's more merciful and loving to end someone's suffering than to prolong and extend a joyless, unendurable life.

Compassion and benevolence demand that we legalize assisted death for no one's sake except for the truly afflicted and those that love them, the ones that will be doing the mourning. Ask any family member who has witnessed a loved one die in such agony, after medicine has done all it can and death has not yet brought about mercy. Besides the importance of the person dying, what about the importance of the survivor's plight, the hopelessness, the helplessness?

We'd all benefit if showing mercy became legal, (as it eventually will), choosing death over an intolerable situation in life but only if it were allowed under certain, well defined circumstances that prevented abuse. By well defined, I mean; very, very, very, with an extra very well defined definition.

Let's hope none of us will ever be in those circumstances, whether dying or pulling the plug. Either way it's not a pleasant situation to be in.

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