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2017 Public Policy Weekend Campaign on Physician Assisted Suicide

The Diocese of Rochester is a member of the New York State Catholic Conference which represents the Bishops of the state in working with government to shape laws and policies that pursue social justice, respect for life and the common good. The Conference provides a unified voice for the eight dioceses of the state to speak on such issues as education, marriage, health care, poverty, abortion, euthanasia, social services, criminal justice and the environment. They apply the principles of Catholic social teaching to critical issues of the day and encourage citizen involvement in the legislative process.

Posted on January 19, 2017


Each year the NYSCC organizes a Public Policy Weekend.  This year Public Policy Weekend, February 4-5, the issue of Physician Assisted Suicide is addressed.  Please read the following items that relate to Physician Assisted Suicide and the threat to the sacredness of human life that is being proposed as legislation in New York State.  On the weekend of February 4-5 you will have an opportunity to sign a letter or petition to your legislators opposing assisted suicide

God’s blessings and peace, Father Bill


All Lives Are Worth Living

God becoming one of us is the ultimate confirmation of the inherent dignity of human life. That dignity does not depend on how functional or productive we are.  We have dignity because we ARE. Yet the elderly, the disabled, those who are not getting the care they need, are vulnerable in the face of the push to legalize physician-assisted suicide here in New York State. 


No Assisted Suicide in NY

Legislation has been introduced in New York State that would authorize assisted suicide by allowing doctors to legally prescribe a deadly dose of pills at the request of a patient with a terminal diagnosis. While proponents may call it “death with dignity” or “aid in dying,” in reality this bill would authorize the direct and intentional taking of human life.  Catholic teaching upholds the dignity of all human life from the moment of conception to natural death.  


Prevent Suicide, Don’t Assist Suicide

Nothing in proposed NY legislation to legalize assisted suicide requires that patients be counseled or screened for clinical depression before they are handed a lethal prescription. Yet mental health professionals know that a large number of suicides could be prevented with the right therapeutic intervention. New York State recognizes suicide as a critical public health concern, and works to prevent it. Government should not reverse course now and send the message that some suicides are acceptable. 


Fatal Flaws in Assisted Suicide Bill

The proposal to legalize doctor-assisted suicide in New York State contains fatal flaws. It allows patients to fill a physician’s prescription for a lethal dose of medication, and then ingest those pills at home, with no oversight by a doctor or nurse, no safeguards, and no accountability. What if a child got his hands on those pills first? Or what if the patient later changed her mind and decided not to take the pills? Who would know if someone else decided to trick or coerce the patient into taking the pills?


Pope Francis on True Compassionate Care

“Palliative care is an expression of the truly human attitude of taking care of one another, especially those who suffer. It is a testimony that the human person is always precious, even if marked by illness or old age.” Pope Francis, March 2015.   There are alternatives to assisted suicide. We must do all we can to reduce suffering and promote the loving option of palliative medicine and hospice care. Learn more and advocate to protect the dignity of all human lives. Check out, click on Public Policy (lower left sidebar) for more info. Sign a letter or petition to your legislators opposing assisted suicide on Public Policy Weekend February 4-5.


Words from our Pastor

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