Sometimes we shorten our mission with the phrase “womb to tomb” – it rhymes; it is memorable; and it is a lot easier to speak and type than our mission “building a community that defends innocent human life from conception until natural death.”
While a tremendous amount of our work has been (and will continue to be) ending abortion, there has been a building of threats against the dignity of human life at the last months of life. Several states now have medical euthanasia and assisted suicide laws, some of which have been promulgated by the legislature and others which have been carved out in judicial decisions. Just as “choice” and “reproductive health” have been thinly veiled and intentionally sanitized euphemisms for abortion, “death with dignity” and “compassionate choices” are increasingly being pushed into our lexicon as synonyms for euthanasia and assisted suicide.
The pressure is especially on in Ohio, where an organization called “Ohio End of Life Options” has been increasingly active. Their 501(c)(3) was approved by the IRS “in just one week!” according to the group. In early April, they spoke at the Association of Health Care Journalists’ annual conference. The conference covered a variety of topics, but the advocates for an Ohio euthanasia law were invited to speak at a panel exploring how to talk about death and “good death” in reporting. This undoubtedly will lay the groundwork for positive coverage of assisted suicide legislation and proposals. Then, just last week the group brought in the husband of Brittnay Maynard, a young woman whose terminal brain cancer diagnosis and subsequent advocacy for assisted suicide re-ignited the national discussion and pushed forward a number of legislative and legal battles over medical euthanasia.
More recently, the Ohio Senate recently passed legislation, SB 165, which authorized what is known as Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST). That legislation is strongly opposed by a large number of faith-based and right to life organizations in the state, although some statewide entities like Ohio Right to Life and the Ohio Catholic Conference remained neutral on the bill.
We are not free from the propaganda at the theater, either. There has been significant buzz over the new film, Me Before You, a pro-euthanasia film that features a wheelchair bound man who falls in love with his caretaker before deciding to end his life. The film is being boycotted by prolife and disability rights organizations.
In the past few months, we have been increasing our efforts as they relate to human dignity on end-of-life issues. That effort is going to expand as we head into the fall with a fall training and speaker series, which will kick off on Monday, August 22 with a talk in the fundamentals of end-of-life bioethics and apologetics. The next in that series will be on Thursday, September 22nd as a panel of legal and medical experts will talk about living wills, healthcare power attorneys, and medical orders for life sustaining treatment and what the pro-life person needs to consider when drafting these documents. In October and November, we will have a discussion of state and national laws that relate to end-of-life care as well as an advocacy workshop.
We’ll be sending out more information on these programs as they approach, but we’d also be happy to hear from you – what do you think you could use some more information on? Let us know in the comments below or by sending us an email.