Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Reports from the Annual Catholic Health Association Assembly

I wasn't able to attend because I'm not a CHA member and, for some reason, couldn't muster up a sponsor, but the reports are now coming in from the event which was held on the 13th through the 15th of this month in Denver.

Proponents of assisted suicide are using the U.S. church's own revised ethical directives as "propaganda to promote" their cause, a physician and Franciscan brother told a workshop at the Catholic Health Association convention June 14.

Compassion & Choices, a national organization created from the merger of the former Hemlock Society and Compassion in Dying in 2005, is telling people that the "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services" now require that "everyone will have a feeding tube rammed down their throat" at Catholic health facilities, said Franciscan Brother Daniel P. Sulmasy.

Brother Sulmasy, a medical doctor who also holds a doctorate in philosophy, is a professor of medicine and ethics at the University of Chicago. He was joined by two other speakers in a panel discussion on "Responding to the Advance of the Physician-Assisted Suicide Agenda" at the CHA convention in Denver.

"Assisted suicide is bad ethics, bad medicine and bad public policy," he told the session. "If it wasn't for that, I'd be all for it."

Reviewing the various efforts to make assisted suicide legal beyond Oregon and Washington states, Brother Sulmasy said that although most efforts have been in the courts or state legislatures, Compassion & Choices also has been conducting a public relations campaign that misrepresents the Catholic directives on withdrawal of food and water that were revised in 2009.

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