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Human Dignity and Physician Assisted Suicide

“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.

The USCCB writes:

“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.”

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. 

Problems with Physician-Assisted Suicide

1. Undermines the medical profession’s true purpose.
The medical field exists to heal, not to kill. 

2. Devalues the elderly and disabled.
Some lives are mistakenly deemed less “meaningful.” 

3. Endangers those with mental illness.
Those with mental illness are at risk for not being adequately supported.

4. Hurts the poor and isolated.
Those who may lack access to proper medical care face greater temptations to resort to physician-assisted suicide. Some qualify for physician-assisted suicide but not for other basic treatments and, even, hospice.

Looking for support in end-of-life decision making?

Find a community that will lovingly support you or a loved one. For more information, visit our page here.

Want to learn more about opposing assisted suicide?

Visit the Patients Rights Action Fund website.

Parish Presentations

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.
Accessing Good Care

Catholic End of Life Ethics 

Hear from the USCCB

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.

What does true compassion at the end of life look like?

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. 

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.