In May, the State of Vermont approved legislation authorizing doctor-prescribed suicide. This tragic decision is part of an “alarming trend nationwide” according to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
Burlington Bishop Salvatore R. Matano described the recent passage of the assisted-suicide bill as “a tragic moment” for the state. Vermont is now the fourth state to join the sad list of Death States which allow for legally prescribing medicines — not to provide medical care to the sick and suffering — but only to end human life.
Ignoring the use of palliative care and attacking the dignity of the human person itself only emboldens those who wish to expand the culture of death. The assisted-suicide movement is a well-financed and aggressive lobby which seeks to spread this culture across the nation. Disguising itself as advancement for patients’ choice and autonomy for the terminally ill, this group maintains a self-proclaimed mission of “death with dignity.” Far from providing death with dignity, assisted suicide even if dressed up with the term “doctor-prescribed suicide,” calls upon medical professionals to destroy, not save, the lives of their patients.
Many doctors take and are expected to uphold the Hippocratic Oath, which states: “I?will not give a drug that is deadly to anyone if asked.” Doctor-prescribed suicide not only violates this oath of medical professional entrusted with the duty to protect life, but also basic human morality.
The assisted-suicide movement will not end in Vermont nor will it end with only “suicide by prescription.” Their goal is euthanasia in every state, with New England set as ground zero for their advancement of the culture of death. We join Bishop Matano and the good people of Vermont in their deep regret. However, we must not simply sit back until the agents of the culture of death that are the assisted-suicide movement set their target on the Ocean State. We must be vigilant in ensuring this evil is rejected while we promote palliative care and further protect the human dignity of every sick and suffering patient in our state.