“True compassion leads to sharing another’s pain; it does not kill the person whose suffering we cannot bear.”– John Paul II, The Gospel of Life
It is easy to fear suffering or death. When those we love are facing chronic pain, mental illness, physical limitations, or terminal illness, we are called to meet them with compassion and in solidarity. Efforts to legalize the use of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide in the U.S. and across the globe are grave affronts to the dignity of the suffering person. We must remind those who are suffering that their worth and freedom does not come from a pain-free life, but is a gift of God-given dignity they are called to live out each and every day.
What happens when doctors stop trying to prevent suicide and starting assisting suicide?
- Assisted suicide is most often “chosen” because of fear of loss of independence, being a burden, and depression.… NOT unbearable pain
- Life-saving care and treatment are denied by insurance companies and lethal drugs are offered instead.
- Suicide rates rise in the general population because of “suicide contagion”
- People with disabilities, veterans, the homeless and the poor become vulnerable to coercion and abuse
- It keeps expanding: targeting the mentally ill, dementia patients and even children
Real Life stories of “Medical Aid in Dying” around the world
- Belgium: 23 yr old Shanti, suffering PTSD after surviving a terrorist attack, was euthanized.
- Canada: Margaret Marsilla learned almost too late that her 23 yr old son who suffers from severe depression was approved for assisted suicide, justified by his diabetes.
- California: 38 yr old Stephanie Packer’s insurance refused to cover lifesaving treatment, instead she was offered assisted suicide drugs for a dollar co-pay.
- Canada: Veteran Affairs recommended euthanasia to a veteran seeking treatment for PTSD and traumatic brain injury.
- Canada: Roger Foley, a disabled man, cannot obtain adequate home-care but has been offered euthanasia.
- Oregon: From 1999-2010, after assisted suicide was legalized, suicide rates for those 35-64 increased 49% compared with a 28% increase nationwide.
- Canada: Tyler Dunlop requested euthanasia because of homelessness. His application is pending Canada’s new expanded law.
- Oregon: Thomas Middleton, suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease, was pressured into assisted suicide by his caregiver. After his death, she stole his money.
- Switzerland: Two healthy, middle-aged sisters from Arizona, Lila and Susan, took a trip to Switzerland and never returned. Their distraught family learned they died by assisted suicide.
- Colorado: Two women in their 30’s were given lethal drugs to “treat” anorexia nervosa
Man of Steel: JJ’s Story
An unexpected cancer diagnosis caused local New Yorker, JJ Hanson, to question what life was all about and why it is worth fighting for. Watch JJ’s story below.
Find a community that will lovingly support you or a loved one. For more information, visit our page here.
Not sure how to choose the right legal document for your health care decisions? Visit this page to learn more.
Read this flyer on Making End-of-Life Decisions as a Catholic. (En Español).
The best way to plan ahead in end-of-life decisions is to have a health care proxy. Click here to download a Health Care Proxy Form.
“a caring community devotes more attention, not less, to members facing the most vulnerable times in their lives. When people are tempted to see their own lives as diminished in value or meaning, they most need the love and assistance of others to assure them of their inherent worth.”
The US Bishops have compiled a number of letters, documents, fact sheets, and personal testimonies about the realities and consequences of physician assisted suicide. Click here to read more.
In this compelling interview, Dr. Michael Brescia shares what patients really need at the end of their life.
Learn more about the Problems with Assisted Suicide.
Read this summary of the Fatal Flaws in Assisted Suicide Legislation.
Learn more by visiting the Patients Rights Action Fund website.
Contact your legislator to tell them you oppose physician-assisted suicide! Email your legislator urging them to oppose physician-assisted suicide.
Send an “Oppose Assisted Suicide” postcard to your legislator: English/Español
Spread awareness in your parish using these bulletin blurbs on physician-assisted suicide and end-of-life care.
For more information on how to: Help Stop Assisted Suicide.
Print these ready-to-use bulletin inserts for your parish:
Stop Assisted Suicide (printable flyer English)/Stop Assisted Suicide (printable flyer Español)
Stop Assisted Suicide (postcard English)/Stop Assisted Suicide (postard Español)
Making End of Life Decisions – English/Español
These pre-made parish presentations will make it easy for you to communicate the truths of Catholic teaching on the end of life clearly and effectively.
Death with Dignity: Lizz’s Story
Lizz speaks of what “death with dignity” really looks like. She shares how, in her suffering with terminal cancer, she has learned to trust in God’s plan for her life, until the end.
The Alvarez Family Story/Historia de la familia de Salvador Álvarez
New York Times Op-ed: What’s Behind the Nursing Home Horror by Charles C. Camosy