Catholics in Massachusetts, New York urged to oppose assisted suicide bills

assisted suicide Shutterstock

Residents of Massachusetts and New York are being urged by pro-life leaders and Catholic bishops to raise their voices against upcoming legislation that would legalize assisted suicide.

In New York, the “Medical Aid in Dying Act” would allow a terminally ill patient to request medication that would put an end to his life.

“A written request for medication … shall be signed and dated by the patient and witnessed by at least two adults who, in the presence of the patient, attest that to the best of his or her knowledge and belief, the patient has decision-making capacity, is acting voluntarily, is making the request for medication of his or her own volition, and is not being coerced to sign the request,” the bill says.

The New York State Catholic Conference, which opposed the bill the past two legislative sessions, put out a call to action following the start of the 2024 legislative session on Jan. 3. 

“With the 2024 legislative session underway, advocates and the bill sponsors of physician-assisted suicide are pushing hard for a vote to legalize this deadly practice in New York state,” the website says

“Lawmakers need to hear from their constituents if we hope to avoid yet another assault on human life here. Assisted suicide is dangerous for patients, caregivers, and vulnerable populations such as the elderly and people with disabilities,” the statement says.

“Suicide is not medical care. Please tell your state Senate and Assembly representatives that you oppose this dangerous and deadly practice. Contact your state legislators now!”

New Yorkers can write to their state legislators through the New York State Catholic Conference web page here

The identical bills in the Assembly and the Senate, which were introduced in January of last year, are still under committee review and have not reached the floor for a vote yet. 

In the Bay State, the Massachusetts “End of Life Options Act” says that “a terminally ill patient may voluntarily make an oral request for medical aid in dying and a prescription for medication” if the patient is a “mentally capable adult,” a resident of Massachusetts, and has been determined by a physician to be terminally ill.

The act was brought before both the House and the Senate in identical bills in February 2023.

Massachusetts Citizens for Life (MCFL) in an email Wednesday urged supporters to voice their opinions against the bill by submitting testimony to state representatives and senators.

MCFL said in the email that the legislation raises “serious societal concerns” including ethical problems that “legalization may lead physicians to violate the Hippocratic Oath.”

The bill also could become a “slippery slope,” MCFL said, adding that “it invites a broader acceptance of euthanasia, eroding moral and legal boundaries.”

MCFL said the bill has “inadequate safeguards” that could lead to abuse and added that the legislation could impact “vulnerable populations” such as the disabled and those with limited health care access.

“The bill clashes with cultural, religious, and philosophical beliefs against intentionally ending human life,” the email said.

The legislation was the subject of a bicameral legislative hearing in October 2023 but never reached the floor for a vote.

More in US

The bishops of Massachusetts, who have opposed the bill since it was first introduced in 2021, again raised their voices against the legislation ahead of the hearing last year. 

“When it’s a topic of discussion amongst legislators, the Church needs to make loud and clear that our voice is heard on the issue,” Massachusetts Catholic Conference President Jim Driscoll told the Boston Pilot at the time.

“The bishops are always going to be on the side of life, including in the precious times that life is ending,” he added.

statement put out by the conference called the bills “deeply troubling” and added that “the Catholic bishops of Massachusetts stand united in our strong opposition to physician assisted suicide.”

“It is an affront to life and a dangerous precedent for determining end-of-life issues. Physicians are trained to care for the ill, not to hasten death,” the statement said.

At the annual Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, archbishop of Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley said: “A society that allows parents to kill their children will eventually allow children to kill their parents,” according to OSV News.

“The situation in Canada is alarming. There are proposals to promote euthanasia for the mentally ill. Once human life is no longer sacred and the government can continuously move the goalposts, more and more people are in danger,” he said.

(Story continues below)

Our mission is the truth. Join us!

Your monthly donation will help our team continue reporting the truth, with fairness, integrity, and fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church.