Minnesota Catholics oppose ‘one of the most aggressive’ assisted suicide bills in the country

Minnesota legislators on Jan. 25 moved toward passing a bill that would allow anyone — without the requirement of a psychological evaluation or even the presence of a doctor when the drug is administered — to get a prescription for a lethal drug in the state.

The St. Paul-based Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC) said in a recent action alert that the new bill is “one of the most aggressive physician-assisted suicide bills in the country.”

The bill, HF1930/SF1813, would allow residents of any state to come to Minnesota to receive a prescription for the lethal drug. If the bill passes into law, Minnesota could become a destination for those seeking to receive the drug.

Dr. John Mielke, chief medical director of the St. Paul-based Presbyterian Homes and Services, spoke at a Jan. 25 news conference at the Minnesota State Capitol hosted by the Minnesota Alliance for Ethical Healthcare. He said that this bill, if passed into law, would compromise his ability to practice ethical healthcare.

Mielke said that the law requires a six-month prognosis to qualify for assisted suicide. Accurately predicting this prognosis, he said, is nearly impossible.

The proposed law also states that it is optional for physicians to prescribe life-ending medication — a fact that is often touted by advocates of the bill — but Mielke said that he would still be required to refer the patient to a doctor who would be able to provide the life-ending medication. He said that this would compromise his conscience.


MCC stated that the new law violates the teaching of the Catholic Church.

“As Catholics, we are called to uphold human dignity,” MCC wrote in its action alert. “Legalization of assisted suicide works against this principle because death is hastened when it is thought that a person’s life no longer has meaning or purpose.”

In 2019, Pope Francis spoke out against physician-assisted suicide.

“A man or a woman should be accompanied with conscience, intelligence and heart, especially in the most serious situations,” the pope said. “We can and must reject the temptation, also induced by legislative changes, to use medicine to support a possible willingness of the patient to die, providing assistance for suicide or directly causing death by euthanasia.”

Seventy-three people signed up to testify both for and against the bill at the House Health and Finance Policy Committee’s Jan. 25 hearing. The committee voted to refer the bill to the next committee — the House Public Safety Committee — which will also vote to stop the bill or refer it to the next committee.

If the bill prevails, Minnesota will join 10 other states that have similar assisted suicide laws, including Oregon and Washington.

Read the full story at The Catholic Spirit.

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