On October 28, leaders of the Christian, the Jewish and the Muslim faiths signed a Declaration against Euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Based on the arguments and justifications articulated in this position paper, the three Abrahamic monotheistic religions share common goals and are in complete agreement in their approach to end-of-life situations. Accordingly, we affirm that:
➢ Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are inherently and consequentially morally and religiously wrong and should be forbidden with no exceptions. Any pressure upon dying patients to end their lives by active and deliberate actions is categorically rejected.
➢ No health care provider should be coerced or pressured to either directly or indirectly assist in the deliberate and intentional death of a patient through assisted suicide or any form of euthanasia, especially when it is against the religious beliefs of the provider. It has been well accepted throughout the generations that conscientious objection to acts that conflict with a person’s ethical values should be respected. This also remains valid even if such acts have been accepted by the local legal system, or by certain groups of citizens. Moral objections regarding issues of life and death certainly fall into the category of conscientious objection that should be universally respected.
➢ We encourage and support validated and professional palliative care everywhere and for everyone. Even when efforts to continue staving off death seems unreasonably burdensome, we are morally and religiously duty-bound to provide comfort, effective pain and symptoms relief, companionship, care and spiritual assistance to the dying patient and to her/his family.
➢ We commend laws and policies that protect the rights and the dignity of the dying patient, in order to avoid euthanasia and promote palliative care.
➢ We, as a society, must assure that patients’ desire not to be a burden does not inspire them the feeling of being useless and the subsequent unawareness of the value and dignity of their life, which deserves care and support until its natural end.
➢ All health care providers should be duty-bound to create the conditions by which religious assistance is assured to anyone who asks for it, either explicitly or implicitly.
➢ We are committed to use our knowledge and research to shape policies that promote socio-emotional, physical and spiritual care and wellbeing, by providing the utmost information and care to those facing grave illness and death.
➢ We are committed to engage our communities on the issues of bioethics related to the dying patient, as well as to acquaint them with techniques of compassionate companionship for those who are suffering and dying.
➢ We are committed to raising public awareness about palliative care through education and providing resources concerning treatments for the suffering and the dying.
➢ We are committed to providing succor to the family and to the loved ones of dying patients.
➢ We call upon all policy-makers and health-care providers to familiarize themselves with this wide-ranging Abrahamic monotheistic perspective and teaching in order to provide the best care to dying patients and to their families who adhere to the religious norms and guidance of their respective religious traditions.
➢ We are committed to involving the other religions and all people of goodwill.