Spokesman for Thousands of Priests Denounces the "Death with Dignity Act"

Priests for Life

Dear Editor:

"Look before you leap" is a word to the wise.  The people of Oregon now have the opportunity to look at what they may leap into in November, a proposal on the ballot to legalize physician-assisted suicide.

Many things we own, like a car, can become more trouble than they are worth, and we junk them.  Human life is not the same.  That's why we have medicine in the first place.  We try to cure, and when we can't cure, we care. But we never kill.  The question of whether the patient does it or the physician does it is secondary.  The current proposal legitimizes killing.

No matter what "safeguards" you put on a law, you cannot make killing safe, nor can you make it right.  Nor will Oregon or the rest of the country be able to escape the logic of death, which this proposal enshrines, namely, that death can be a solution.  If death is a solution in one case, why not in another?  If a sick person can do it, why not a troubled teenager?  If we recognize a "right to death" for a person who requests it, you can be sure people will come along, maybe relatives, who will remind the sick person of his/her "right," and introduce a pressure to die.  A government that grants a "right" to die can easily proclaim a duty to die.

Make no mistake.  To support this initiative is both morally and logically a disaster.  Instead of proposing death as a solution, let's rally to the help, support, care and love of the sick and dying.

Fr. Frank A. Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life


Priests for Life, a national association of Catholic clergy, is calling for strong opposition to Ballot Measure 16, the measure on the November ballot in Oregon to legalize physician-assisted suicide.

The National Director, Fr. Frank Pavone, stated, "Even the proposal to enshrine in law the right to kill oneself turns both law and medicine upside down.  The purpose of law and medicine is to protect and save life.  A proposal such as the Death with Dignity Act makes life a disposable item.  It is simply wrong to vote in favor of this proposal.  I trust that the people of Oregon have the wisdom to see this."