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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 

Embracing Our Dying

November 7, 2014 End of Life: Legal and Policy Issues, Reverence for Life

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.

April 25, 2014 End of Life: Legal and Policy Issues, Reverence for Life

Recently, the SFWire, an online news service, ran a brief story about an "empowerment luncheon designed to raise funds and awareness for patients' rights and end-of-life decision making," hosted by Compassion & Choices, at theSt. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Behind the slick presentation, however, lies a more ominous motive -- legalizing Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) in California

May 21, 2013 End of Life: Legal and Policy Issues, Reverence for Life

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.

November 23, 2011 End of Life: Legal and Policy Issues, Reverence for Life

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)

November 23, 2011 End of Life: Legal and Policy Issues, Reverence for Life
by Gerald D. Coleman, S.S, 
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.

November 23, 2011 End of Life: Legal and Policy Issues, Reverence for Life
By Richard M. Doerflinger

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).

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