Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress Physician Assisted Suicide

Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) via a prescription for a lethal dose of a medication is no longer forbidden in Germany as well as in some areas in the USA. Arguments for it, for example in the above listed DGHS (Germans for Humane Death) website, include:

  1. The primary argument of proponents is fear of an agonizing death. This must be taken seriously and the only solution to it is that dignified human death must become the norm. Keywords here include palliative care medicine, hospice, ars moriendi (the art of dying), a change in consciousness.

Counterarguments to so called PAS are often kept silent:

  1. The fear of its abuse 
    1. Directly by “death on demand”
    2. Indirectly by pressuring “useless” seriously ill patients 

On a medical level: palliative care medicine against intensive care medicine. 

  • Additionally, the idea of palliative care: life to the last! 
  • The distinction between ambulatory palliative care and in-patient palliative care is not well known by most lay people. In Germany, the first modern Hospice hospital was not opened until 1986 in Aachen. 


On a theological level: 

Argument for PAS: autonomy of human beings and the “humanization of death;” PAS is a expression of freedom and self-determination (this argument was already present with Stoa – only animals expire, humans decide the time of their own deaths). 

To counter this, the only thing that helps is giving people meaning through faith! Living in the face of death can make life more meaningful. Behind all the false arguments is often a subconscious fear of death. Fear of death is most often actually a fear of “missed” life, so called “un-lived” life. Asking for PAS  can also be a symptom of unbelief and missed life. It is important to uncloak the so called “humane” nature of PAS as a) fear and b) emptiness. 


The Biblical Position (as on suicide)

  1. Genesis 1: Life is a gift from God over which people were not given free authority
  2. Jeremiah 1:5: God has affirmed our life from the beginning (see also Ps 139: 14-16)
  3. Romans 14:7: No one lives for themselves
  4. Phil 1:22-24: Living for others’ sake
  5. Eph 1:2-14 Living to praise His glory! 

Rejecting PAS does  not  mean judging the terminal patient who asks for it.