The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is encouraging members of Congress to support a continuing resolution criticizing assisted suicide as “deadly, discriminatory and non-compassionate.”
“Assisted suicide fractures the human family by targeting its most vulnerable members, including the elderly and persons with disabilities, suggesting that their lives are not worth living,” said a Dec. 20 statement signed by Archbishops Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas and Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City.
Naumann, who chairs the USCCB’s pro-life committee, and Coakley, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said it is necessary to “do what we can to uphold the dignity of life, cherish the lives of all human beings, and work to prevent all suicides.”
“We urge the U.S. Congress to do all it can to protect Americans from this cruel practice, and to ensure those who are ill, disabled, or facing the end of life receive comprehensive medical and palliative care instead of a facilitated suicide,” they added.
House Concurrent Resolution 79 is titled “Expressing the sense of the Congress that assisted suicide (sometimes referred to using other terms) puts everyone, including those most vulnerable, at risk of deadly harm.” The resolution was introduced on Dec. 12 by Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA), and is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of representatives.
“That it is the sense of Congress that the Federal Government should ensure that every person facing the end of their life has access to the best quality and comprehensive medical care, including palliative, in-home, or hospice care, tailored to their needs and that the Federal Government should not adopt or endorse policies or practices that support, encourage, or facilitate suicide or assisted suicide, whether by physicians or others,” says the resolution.
It also defines assisted suicide and cites situations where doctors have exploited loopholes to provide lethal medication to people who did not have terminal illnesses.
Assisted suicide has been legalized in nine states, as well as the District of Columbia. In 2019, Hawaii, Maine, and New Jersey all legalized the practice. Other states debated it, but did not pass legislation.
Mary Forr, the manager of Catholic policy and advocacy at the Archdiocese of Washington, told CNA that assisted suicide legislation, such as the law in the District of Columbia, “promotes a false compassion.”
Assisted suicide “champions the lie that some lives–especially the lives of the elderly and people with disabilities–are burdensome and less valuable than others. As the Church, we must speak out against this narrative and promote the truth that all life, at every stage, in every condition and circumstance, is valuable and is worth living,” said Forr.
“We stand with the USCCB in urging the U.S. Congress to protect those targeted by assisted suicide–especially the elderly and those with disabilities.”