Assisted suicide corrupts medicine, Vermont diocese warns
Credit: Marea Howse (CC0 1.0).
Credit: Marea Howse (CC0 1.0).

.- The Vermont legislature passed a bill allowing physicians to approve lethal drugs for terminally ill patients to kill themselves, a move the local Catholic diocese said will have major consequences.

“Physician-assisted suicide will forever transform the role of physician from one who preserves life to one who takes life,” the Catholic Diocese of Burlington said ahead of the vote on its website.

“Catholics must raise their voices against such an affront to human life,” the diocese added. “True compassion calls us to embrace those who are dying, not provide them with the means to end their lives.”

On May 13, the Vermont House approved the bill by a vote of 75 to 65. Last week, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 16-14. Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, has said he will sign the bill.

The bill allows the prescription of lethal drugs to patients suffering from an “incurable and irreversible disease” and who have a life expectancy of six months or less, Reuters reports. The patient’s primary physician and a consulting doctor must agree that the patient’s diagnosis is terminal and that the patient is capable of informed consent.

The patient must request the drugs twice, with a 15-day period between the requests. The patient must self-administer the drugs.

Gov. Shumlin said the bill will offer the state’s citizens who have terminal illnesses “a choice to control their destiny and avoid unnecessary suffering.”

Opponents of the bill have said it could encourage people to kill themselves out of fear they are imposing a burden on their family or out of undue influence from potential heirs.

Bishop Salvatore R. Matano of Burlington spoke out against “doctor-prescribed suicide” in a letter reissued January 22.

“As we care for the child so must we care for all persons in the vast spectrum of life,” the bishop said. “When we subjectively determine when life begins and ends, when it is viable or not, when it is too burdensome to endure, we begin a path toward self-destruction. Life is no longer precious, but just another commodity in the business of living.”

He warned that the legislation would allow health insurers and government agencies to encourage the seriously ill to take lethal prescriptions rather than seek life-extending treatment. He said at least two such cases have become public in states where the form of suicide is legal.

Bishop Matano urged that society provide support for the terminally ill. Willfully killing those who are sick, disabled or dying is “morally unacceptable and a tragic offense against life,” he said.

Doctor-assisted suicide is legal in Oregon and Washington state after voters approved ballot initiatives in favor of legalization. Since the Oregon law took effect in 1997, 673 people have killed themselves with drugs prescribed under the law, the Oregon health department reported earlier this year.

In 2012 Massachusetts voters narrowly defeated a ballot measure to legalize doctor-assisted suicide by a margin of 51-49.

Tags: Assisted Suicide

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

3D Church mapping
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family

Liturgical Calendar

July 30, 2014

Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:44-46


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Jer 15: 10, 16-21
Gospel:: Mt 13: 44-46

Saint of the Day

St. Peter Chrysologus »


Homily of the Day

Mt 13:44-46


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: