Sixth: You shall not kill - Page 2


Abortion and euthanasia

Abortion means taking the life of an unborn baby.  Euthanasia is the deliberate taking of a person’s life, for example, because he or she is disabled, or ill, or in pain or dying.  Whatever language is used to describe what is done, there is no disguising the fact that killing is involved.  Killing is wrong – a very serious sin.

Sometimes people who are dying have pain which may be severe.  It is not wrong for a doctor to give dying people high doses of medicine with the intention of controlling the pain, even if in so doing their life is shortened.  It is the intention that is all-important – if the medicine is given with the intention of relieving pain, not with the intention of killing the person, that is not euthanasia and it is not wrong.  A doctor is also not required to take extreme measures, such as using life support machines, to keep people alive when there is no hope of their getting better.  The intention here is not to cause the death of the person but to accept that the person has come to the end of his or her life and that using extreme methods is merely blocking the person’s death.