Sadly, on May 20, 2012, Vermont became the fourth state to legalize physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill individuals—but the first in which it was by passage of legislation. In Oregon and Washington, assisted suicide was approved through public initiatives, and in Montana by judicial decree.
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End of Life
- To Live Each Day with Dignity
- Death With Dignity and the Gift of Palliative Care
- USCCB Physcian-Assisted Suicide Page
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End of Life: Legal and Policy Issues
If those who are dying are embraced by their family and their community, they will not seek death, but will live their last days well, and then accept death when it comes.
This page contains information on legal and policy matters.
For Catholic teaching on end-fo-life jump to
On June 16 the Catholic bishops of the United States approved their first-ever policy statement focused on physician-assisted suicide, To Live Each Day with Dignity. This prompted a response from the group formerly known as the Hemlock Society, which now goes by the euphemism “Compassion & Choices” (C&C).
In November 2009, the U.S. bishops issued the fifth edition of their Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs).
A 45-page PowerPoint that teaches about public policy, reviews the history of suicide/euthanasia, outlines Church teaching, reviews the current state of the law, and discusses current efforts in California to block the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. (Download 1.3 Mb)
Vice President, Corporate Ethics, Daughters of Charity Health System
Since the 1980s, there have been a number of high profile cases involving persons receiving medically assisted nutrition and hydration (MANH), e.g., Claire Conroy, Paul Brophy, Nancy Cruzan, Hugh Finn, and Terri Schiavo. The provision of nutrition and hydration through the use of various medical interventions, sometimes referred to as “tube feeding,” is one of the most complex and controversial issues in contemporary bioethics.
Debate on physician-assisted suicide (PAS) has once again surfaced following the tragic suicide of Brittany Maynard. But, as is usually the case, media coverage tends to misstate Catholic teaching on end-of-life issues and some proponents deliberately twist our teachings to confuse the debate.
Proponents continue to focus on emotional elements and ignore the very significant and dangerous policy implications of PAS. But the discussion must be much deeper and the potential consequences for the elderly, disabled and disenfranchised members of society from PAS made much clearer.
On June 9, 2016, in what the Bishops of California have called a “travesty of compassion,” physicians in California will legally be allowed to prescribe a lethal dose of drugs to a patient.
Despite bi-partisan opposition and being defeated in the regular legislative session, the End-of-Life Option Act was passed in a special, abbreviated session with limited hearings and altered committee membership.