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A Pro-Life View on Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.

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AUL Opposes Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) and Euthanasia

In Washington v. Glucksberg, the United States Supreme Court summed up the consensus well, saying:  
“In almost every State—indeed, in almost every western democracy—it is a crime to assist a suicide.  The States’ assisted suicide bans are not innovations.  Rather they are longstanding expressions of the States’ commitment to the protection and preservation of all human life.”

Here are the top reasons why pro-life organizations like Americans United for Life oppose assisted suicide and euthanasia.

  • PAS prematurely ends a human life. Advocates for PAS will tell you that this is about a person ending their life on “their own terms,” but sadly that option is always available without a doctor’s involvement. What assisted suicide does is end treatment or compassionate palliative care under the guise of “medicine.” It says that we are giving up on you.  
  • PAS tells the elderly, the disabled, and the infirm that their lives aren’t worth living. Why do we have a nationwide suicide hotline, #988, for those suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts who DON’T have a corresponding condition or diagnosis that could be influencing those thoughts, but for the sick, aged, or disabled, we offer the salvation of an early grave? The message this sends is that our societal commitment to healing—both physiological and emotional—extends only to the perfectly-abled.  
  • PAS degrades the medical profession. PAS establishes an incentive structure against treatment and hospice care, which is why the American Medical Association calls it “fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer.” In the few states that do have PAS, it’s clear that this is not a “decision between a patient and their doctor,” as the median duration of the physician-patient relationship is just a few weeks.  
  • PAS is impossible to ethically study or evaluate. There is no way to study appropriate dosages when the outcome is a dead patient. So in states with PAS, they just write a prescription for more than what it should take to kill a person and see what happens. Leftover drugs end up in the medicine cabinet or taken by someone else. You can’t survey PAS participants about whether they felt coerced by their family, insurance provider, or physician, or if they regret their decision. There are no takebacks when the goal is death.   

Suicide bills have been introduced in over a dozen states this year, and we must oppose their passage at every turn. Just look at states like Washington and New Jersey that already legalized physician-assisted suicide but seek to “increase access” by removing existing insufficient safeguards. Now, where have we heard that language before? These are two bookends of a culture of death that seeks to discard the painful, unexpected, or inconvenient.

Caring for Our Cherished Senior Citizens

Recently, the urgent need to care better for our senior citizens has come into stark view. Widespread neglect in the American nursing home system has been well documented, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is absolutely disgraceful. Simply put, policymakers made very bad choices to return residents who were sick with COVID to their assisted living facilities, exponentially increasing the danger to those who were already at the greatest risk of succumbing to the novel virus. Tens of thousands of excess deaths are directly attributable to subpar care given to senior Americans in the facilities that exist purely to give adequate and humane care. In the coming decades, we must do better for our seniors. Only because of the sacrifice of the generation before us do we have the freedom and opportunities that we can enjoy, and it is our responsibility to care for Americans in their twilight. AUL has always acted as a voice to the voiceless, and many residents in long-term care facilities are increasingly voiceless. We cannot leave an entire class of Americans to wither and die with subpar care and neglect. We foresee a move to a more “household model” for nursing homes which allows for more individualized care and attention. A smaller footprint and resident number also allow less room for abuse to be swept under the rug. A pro-life America is one in which we cherish and care for elder Americans. As the American population continues to age in the aggregate, we must protect our fundamental rights. Read More…  Ethical First Principles in a National Crisis

Additional AUL Resources