Church

On Physician-Assisted Suicide

As you by now know, Dr Death (Jack Kevorkian) is dead. Well on the subject of assisted-suicide, I see that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is preparing to make a timely statement on the whole physician-assisted suicide matter:

(CNS) — When the U.S. bishops consider a proposed policy statement on physician-assisted suicide during their mid-June meeting in Seattle, they will be taking on for the first time as a body of bishops one of the most divisive issues in U.S. society today.

A Gallup Poll released May 31 showed that Americans are more closely divided on the issue of physician-assisted suicide than on any other issue, including abortion, out-of-wedlock births, gay and lesbian relations or medical testing on animals.

Asked whether doctor-assisted suicide was morally acceptable or morally wrong, 45 percent said they thought it was acceptable and 48 percent said they believed it to be wrong — a result that fell within the survey’s margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said the time is right for the statement, titled “To Live Each Day With Dignity.”

“After years of relative inaction following legalization of physician-assisted suicide in Oregon in 1994, the assisted suicide movement has shown a strong resurgence in activity,” said the cardinal in a news release about the proposed statement…

“The church needs to respond in a timely and visible way to this renewed challenge, which will surely be pursued in a number of states in the years to come,” he said.

Although the U.S. bishops’ Administrative Committee issued a brief “Statement on Euthanasia” in 1991, the bishops have never commented on the topic as a group. The 1991 statement said euthanasia violates divine law, human dignity and basic “American convictions about human rights and equality.”

In the works since November, the proposed policy statement aims to counter two arguments of assisted suicide proponents — that their agenda affirms patients’ “choices” and expresses “compassion” for suffering…

There’s more here.