“I am now giving you the choice between life and death, between God’s blessing and God’s curse, and I call heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Choose life.” Deuteronomy 30:19
Assisted Suicide and Physicians’ Conscience Rights:
Opponents of Physician-Assisted-Suicide (PAS) contend that doctors have a moral responsibility to keep patients alive as reflected in the Hippocratic Oath. They argue there may be a “slippery slope” from euthanasia to murder and that PAS will unfairly target the poor and disabled and create incentives for insurance companies to terminate lives in order to save money. (euthanasia.procon.org, 12/19/16)
This “slippery slope” argument is addressed by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, writing about ethics in the Atlantic Monthly, in which he affirms that there is a lesson to be learned from the Netherlands and Belgium, where there is widespread breach of legal safeguards leading to a sizable incidence of non-voluntary euthanasia. He fears the eventual outcome of PAS laws could be euthanasia of the demented, the mentally ill, the old, and others. (heritage.org, 3/24/15; cmda.org, 7/18/16)
A Warning from Canada:
The “Medical Assistance in Dying” report, February, 2016, recommended that all Canadian doctors have a legal duty either to provide assisted suicide or provide an “effective referral” to someone who will provide it. Recommendation 10 of the report recognizes there may be a direct conflict of rights and interests between a patient seeking suicide and a doctor with ethical and moral standards opposed to providing this option. However, Recommendation 10 subordinates the values, rights and ethical interests of the doctor to the wishes of the patient.
Many physicians in Canada warn of this “slippery slope” to the kind of social and medical ethics that corrupts and erodes the core virtues essential for survival of a free society. It would be wise to pay attention to what is happening in Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland, since already six American states (CA, OR, WA, MT, NM, and VT) have recently legalized physician assisted suicide. The New York State legislature is now considering a so-called “medical aid in dying” bill. (cnsnews.com, 3/18/16; stat news.com, 1/19/17; latimes.com, 5/16/16)
“Do not abandon wisdom, and she will protect you; love her and she will keep you safe. Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do.” Proverbs 4:6-7
“Even in my suffering I was comforted because your promise gave me life.“ Psalm 119:50
Freedom of Faith vs. Doctor Assisted Suicide Laws:
Vermont: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have filed suit in federal court against Vermont Board of Medical Practice, etc. on behalf of doctors who fear that state agencies are construing Vermont’s assisted suicide law as requiring them, regardless of their conscience or oath to “do no harm”, to counsel patients on doctor-prescribed death as an option. According to state agencies, only doctors may refer patients to others for assisted suicide counseling. However, these health care professionals contend it is unethical for them to counsel for, refer for, or in any way participate in suicide.
“The government shouldn’t be telling health care professionals that they must violate their medical ethics in order to practice medicine,” said ADF Senior Counsel. “These doctors and health workers deeply believe that suffering patients need understanding and sound medical treatment, not encouragement to kill themselves. The state has no authority to order them to act contrary to that sincere and time-honored conviction.” (adflegal.org, 7/21/16)
California: The insurance company for terminally ill Stephanie Parker, wife and mother of four, denied her a different chemotherapy drug after California’s End of Life Option Act was passed in 2016. She was told that while chemotherapy was denied, suicide pills were covered under her plan. “As soon as this law was passed … patients fighting for a longer life end up getting denied treatment, because this (suicide) will always be the cheapest option,” she said. (washingtontimes.com, 10/20/16)
Hippocratic Oath: “… I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrong-doing. Neither will I administer poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course.”
“In a world where various forms of modern tyranny seek to suppress religious freedom … it is imperative that the followers of the various religious traditions join their voices in calling for peace (and) tolerance…” Pope Francis
Another American town responds:
Knightstown, IN – When residents learned that city officials had caved into removing a large illuminated cross from the town’s Christmas tree after the threat of a lawsuit, they decided to fight back by putting crosses in their windows and in their yards, letting the world know that they would not let “Christ” be taken out of Christmas.
“Hall of Shame” 2016 report continued:
St. Therese of Lisieux, Montauk, for inviting Patricia Flynn, Treasurer and a Director of Catholics for Freedom of Religion, to speak about “Religious Freedom Day” during all masses January 14-15.
“For the most part, we are aware of the persecution and martyrdom of Christians around the world, but we tend to be naive about the threat to religious freedom right here in America.”
Msgr. James M. McNamara, L.I.Catholic, January, 2017
Atheist group wins battle to pull cross from Veterans Memorial Park:
Belle Plaine, MN – A monument depicting the silhouette of a soldier kneeling at the grave of a fallen comrade with a headstone marked by a cross, has had the cross cut off.
“It’s a grave marker – in this instance, it’s not a religious symbol,” said a resident from a family of veterans. “It’s frustrating to see that one or two people are allowed to speak for a town of over 3,00 people,” said another resident, who started a movement to fight back by displaying crosses in front yards and nearby businesses.
Also, a nearby manufacturing plant will deliver 400 copies of the original metal statue – cross and all – to the veterans club for residents to purchase and display on their own property. (startribune.com, 1/25/17; alphanewsmn.com, 1/19/17)
“Hall of Shame” 2016 report:
For the first time, the United States has been named among the top 12 nations where Christians are targeted for their faith by International Christian Concern (ICC), a persecution watchdog group. “While conditions in the U.S. are in no way comparable to other countries on the list, a certain segment of the culture and the courts seem to be intent on driving faith out of the public square. There have been too many court cases with bad decisions to miss the clear trend line,” said Jeff King, president of ICC.
* St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Melville, whose Religious Education program hosted our “Free To Speak” lesson to 400 parents, catechists and 7th & 8th grade students in January.
* St. Pius X, Plainview, hosted our “Free To Speak” to 100 catechists and 7th & 8th grade students in January.