On New Year’s Day, I told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo my prediction for 2015: doctor-assisted suicide would become a raging moral issue. Looks like my prediction was on target: California, Maryland, New York, and Colorado are all considering bills that would legalize it.
A few weeks ago, California lawmakers introduced a bill that would allow a patient to request life-ending medical assistance if he has six months or less to live. Lawmakers in Maryland are introducing a similar bill this week. Some doctors and terminally ill patients in New York are in court today suing over a law that prevents doctor-assisted suicide; a bill to reverse the law has been proposed. Colorado is weighing its own bill, one that does not require doctors to screen for mental problems.
These bills are inspired by, if not modeled on, Oregon law. That should give them pause. All the talk about “built-in safeguards” has not prevented doctors from killing patients who are not terminally ill. In some cases, patients who have been injected with deadly substances have lived for years, leading macabre physicians to demand a “do over.” Then there are those who have been offered a deadly way out of their condition in lieu of medical treatment.
The disabled are particularly vulnerable under these bills, which is why there is so much push-back coming from this community. What is happening in Colorado—no screening for depression—is ripe for abuse. Colorado is also breaking new ground by allowing patients to pick up their lethal prescription at the drug store and finish themselves at home, giving new meaning to the term “take-out” order.
Euthanasia always starts with the hard cases, but history shows that it never ends there. Beware: We are not stepping on a slippery slope—it’s a sheet of ice.
To read Bill Donohue’s article in Legatus magazine, “The Morality of Doctor-Assisted Suicide,” click here.