Proponents of doctor-assisted suicide are making a full court press to legalize this deadly practice in New York State, and 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. 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!
Catholic Medical Association Condemns Oregon’s Removal of Residency Requirements for Physician Assisted Suicide
Philadelphia, PA -April 4, 2022- Catholic Medical Association, which strongly opposes Physician Assisted Suicide, today condemned the State of Oregon’s decision to no longer enforce residency requirements for patients seeking euthanasia.
“Removing the residency requirement from Oregon’s so called ‘Death with Dignity Act’ further undermines the dignity and sanctity of life. Inviting people from across state lines to come to Oregon to end their lives is not aligned with good medical care,” said Craig Treptow, M.D., President of CMA.
CMA advocates for the respect of life in all of its stages and this includes ensuring dignified end-of-life care.
“The State of Oregon has now extended its promotion of assisted suicide beyond its borders, inviting residents of other states to die with Oregon’s help. Every state has physicians and other health care professionals, including the members of CMA, that believe every patient deserves better than what Oregon offers,” said Tim Millea, M.D., Chair of CMA’s Health Care Policy Committee.
### The Catholic Medical Association is a national, physician-led community of 2,400 healthcare professionals consisting of 115 local guilds. CMA’s mission is to inform, organize, and inspire its members, in steadfast fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church, to uphold the principles of the Catholic faith in the science and practice of medicine. Jill Blumenfeld firstname.lastname@example.org cathmed.org
Co-Chair of CMA’s Ethics Committe, Greg Burke, M.D., previously explained that a physician’s role is not to abandon a patient at the end of their life, but to “caringly walk with the patient through that uncertainty, alleviating suffering, while providing every opportunity for meaningful living as one prepares for death.”
CMA urges Oregon to reconsider its position on Physician Assisted Suicide and restore dignity for its patients and their families.
Catholic Medical Association | 550 Pinetown Rd, Suite 205 , Fort Washington, PA 19034
This an interesting article. Here is a quick summary.
In Italy Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) is currently legal while Euthanasia is not. A recent popular referendum in favor of legalizing Euthanasia was rejected by the Italian court based on concerns that the proposed law did not provide sufficient protections for the venerable.
Now, two members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Jesuit Father Carlo Casalone and Dr. Marie-Jo Thiel, have argued that the Church should take the position that it would be morally acceptable to support legislation legalizing PAS as a strategic move to prevent legalization of Euthanasia. On its face this is a tempting (literally, see the Screwtape quote below!) position to take.
They liken this position to that of the Church, or a Catholic politician, supporting intermediate legislation that increases restrictions on abortion, say from 24 weeks to 16 weeks, rather than outlawing abortion outright as being acceptable so long as efforts continue to ultimately outlaw abortion.
This analogy is clearly inappropriate. In the case of the abortion law, the Catholic politician is supporting a bill that decreases the performance of the illicit actionwithout promoting an alternative illicit action.
A more apt analogy would be suggesting that a Catholic politician could support the morning after pill (an abortifacient) in hopes that this would make the legalization of abortion less likely. Abortion is not “better” than the morning after pill just like PAS is not “better” than euthanasia.
You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
Finally, perhaps Fr Casalone and Dr. Thiel would rethink their position if they were forced to use what appears to be the literal translation of the pertinent Italian term: Homicide of the Consenting
One seeming downside of the ruling is the primary reason given by the court is “inadequate legal protections for the weak and vulnerable.” This sounds like it invites future legalization efforts that ‘better’ address such concerns. While we certainly join the Italian Bishops in welcoming this ruling, it would be nice to see the Court reject this on moral groups. Sadly, this seems like a pipe dream in our modern world.
As an aside…
Their term for what we call PAS is interesting (assuming it’s accurately translated into English): Homicide of the Consenting.
Though the term is, to say the least, unlikely to catch on here in the US, it does have the advantages of being inclusive and accurate!
I agree that doctors certainly should “engage” with this issue…and…of course I strongly disagree with the BMJ’s position in favor of physician assisted suicide (PAS).
There is much more to say, though for today I am going to focus on three points: 1) languaging, 2) the idea of organization “neutrality” on this issue, and 3) physician engagement on this issue.
First, languaging around the issue of PAS is important and should not be overlooked. Names matter and, specifically, the specificity of naming matters. Diseases, treatments, etc. in medicine tend to become more exact and accurate over time. This is to help distinguish between one and the next in meaningful ways. The push to move from terms like “assisted suicide” to “assisted death/dying” suggests, charitability, that those in favor of the latter see no difference between someone dying of their disease vs someone dying because of a purposeful lethal ingestion prescribed by a doctor.
Please read that again…people on the pro-PAS side of the argument, at best, see no difference between you dying of cancer and a doctor prescribing you a lethal overdose.
If you believe there is an important moral difference between these then please, please speak up next time you see this in writing or hear it in conversation. Kind, charitable questions can generally help clarify whether the other person understands this essential difference. At the very least we should be clear about what we’re discussing. If you’d like to let the BMJ know what you think, you can contact them here.
Second, Dr. Godlee states both, “The BMJ’s position is that terminally ill people should be able to choose an assisted death…” AND “…the journal has called on professional organisations to adopt a neutral stance on the grounds that a decision to legalise assisted dying is for society and parliament to make.” Just so we’re clear, it’s ok for the BMJ to be in favor of PAS AND it is improper for other organizations to take the opposite position. Gotcha. (Hopefully) No further comment needed on this point.
Third, “Engagement of doctors in recent polls has been limited, with only 20% of physicians, 19% of BMA members, and 13% of GPs responding.” I hope this makes it clear that any polls that might be out there woefully under-, and likely mis-represent, the true opinion of physicians.
This debate is far from over and we are continuing to work with our colleagues and friends across New York State to keep our patients, friends, family, ourselves, and indeed our very profession safe from the scourge of physician assisted suicide!
-Tom Carroll, President – FLG
The BMJ also published a short response by Dr. Carroll to their article here.