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Living and dying with dignity

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Last June, the bishops of the United States approved and published a superb statement against Physician-Assisted Suicide entitled, "To Live Each Day with Dignity." It was a response of spiritual shepherds to wolves in white medical jackets who pretend that the compassionate response to those who are contemplating taking their lives is to give them the drugs to do it.

The movement in favor of physician-assisted suicide -- which is legal in Oregon and Washington state -- thinks that present circumstances harbinger an opening to persuading legislatures to allow what they morbidly dub "the ultimate right of the 21st century," the right to kill oneself. With the baby boom generation now becoming seniors, with all the concern about the rationing of health care costs, and with an increase in the number of those with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, assisted suicide proponents are trying to make a move for legalization in states they think might be friendly. "With expanded funding from wealthy donors," the bishops noted, "assisted suicide proponents have renewed their aggressive nationwide campaign through legislation, litigation, and public advertising, targeting states they see as most susceptible to their message."

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