The word dignity sounds like a good thing. The Encarta Dictionary defines it as “self-respect, worthiness, due respect.” So when New Jersey voters hear the title of the bill currently in the New Jersey State Legislature, “Death with Dignity Act,” it would be natural for them to think that this must be a good and beneficial law. But they would be wrong. A more accurate title for this bill would be the “Physician-Assisted Suicide Act.” Physician-assisted suicide is when a physician provides a means for someone to commit suicide; in this case the physician provides a prescription for an overdose of lethal drugs.
The Catholic Church teaches that life is sacred and a gift from God. It also teaches that euthanasia and assisted suicide are gravely wrong, but there are real dangers in this bill that have nothing to do with our religious beliefs.
The New Jersey Death with Dignity Act (A3328/S2259) would allow a mentally competent, adult state resident who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness with a prognosis of less than six months to live, to request a lethal prescription to commit suicide.
A prognosis of less than six months to live is just an estimate. The predicted life expectancy can be inaccurate and is often wrong. With treatment, patients are often able to extend that prognosis by months and in some cases, years. Physician-assisted suicide would cause many people to lose years of their lives.
As stated above, a prognosis of less than six months to live can often be extended, sometimes indefinitely, with treatment. With the high cost of medical care, health insurers may deny expensive treatments that have the potential to extend lives and instead offer the cheapest treatment, physician-assisted suicide. This has already happened in Oregon.
Mistakes in the predictions or guesses of when someone will die and the chance that insurers will deny life-giving treatments are just two of the dangers of the Death with Dignity Act. There are many more, including possibility of coercion, elder abuse and abuse of the disabled, lack of safeguards and no oversight. Respect Life Ministry is working to educate citizens of New Jersey about the reasons this bill is too dangerous. An excellent website for additional information is www.noassistedsuicidenj.org.
Now is the time for action! Let your Assemblypersons and New Jersey State Senator know that you are in opposition to the Death with Dignity Act (A3328/S2259). This can be done by email at http://www.capwiz.com/njcathconf/home/. Telephone calls are also very effective. Call the New Jersey State Legislature at 609-847-3905, or toll free at 800-792-8630, hearing impaired dial 711 for NJ Relay, ask for the telephone number for your Assemblypersons and your state Senator, and make that telephone call to ask them to vote against this bill. Sign the Google petition/letter at https://www.facebook.com/RespectLifeMinistryDioceseOfTrenton to ask our state legislators to reject the Death with Dignity Act (A3328/S2259). LIKE the Respect Life Ministry Facebook page to keep informed about Action Alerts on this and other important life issues.