Colorado Hospitals Declare Assisted Suicide Free Zones

by Wesley J. Smith

Many assisted suicide advocates want to be able to force doctors and hospitals to participate in the intentional ending of patients’ lives.

That is on the verge of happening in Canada–led by medical associations. Meanwhile, in Vermont a regulatory interpretation attempts to force doctors to discuss doctor-prescribed death with all terminally ill patients. Hopefully, the lawsuit filed against the interpretation will succeed.

At least for now, in the USA, laws legalizing assisted suicide contain strong conscience protections allowing hospitals and doctors to opt-out. 

Ethical MDs and institutions take shelter behind such conscience clauses. Now, in Colorado, which just legalized lethal medicine, two large Catholic hospital one secular system are refusing to participate. From the STATnews.com story:

Nearly one-third of Colorado’s hospitals are refusing to offer terminally ill patients the option of physician-assisted suicide — even though voters last fall overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative legalizing the practice.

And two of the state’s biggest health care systems, both faith-based, appear poised to bar their doctors from providing such services to patients at any of their facilities, under any circumstances — potentially running afoul of the new aid-in-dying law.

The law requires religious institutions to permit discussions of assisted suicide on premises and write lethal prescriptions to be taken off site. Forcing hospitals to allow doctors to so do on site gives the appearance of the institutions validation of assisted suicide and should be resisted.

That point aside, good for the Catholic and secular hospitals that are establishing assisted suicide free zones. Say it loud and say it proud.

Wherever assisted suicide is legalized, the watchwords for ethical doctors, hospitals, and other care institutions–and family members/friends of the suicidal asked to validate assisted suicides by their attendance–should be total non-cooperation.

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