Bishop Malone weighs-in on Death With Dignity bill

Death With Dignity

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- The leader of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese weighed-in recently on some legislation making its way through Albany.

“I’d like to take a moment to ask all Catholics and people of good will to let your voices be heard against the evil of assisted suicide,” Bishop Richard J. Malone said in a YouTube video.

Bishop Malone said when it comes to death, the Church doesn’t see a grey area.

The Senate’s Health Committee is debating whether or not terminally ill patients in New York should have access to aid-in-dying drugs.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Diane Savino, hopes the measure will be enacted in the next two years.

She told News 4 this legislation is all about choice.

“People don’t have to do anything here. If you want to wait it out and let nature take its course and you want to pray for a miracle….but not everybody feels that way,” she said.

New York’s End-of-Life Options Act would allow terminally adults access to aid-in-dying medications if their illness has been medically proven to lead to death within six months.

“Eventually my treatment options and whatever clinical trials might be available to me, are going to end at some point,” said Susan Rahn.

Rahn, a practicing Catholic, as stage 4 metastatic breast cancer; she’s pushing for Savino’s bill because she wants to leave her family with memories of her living.

“I don’t want them to remember me in a bed, in pain, medicated. I don’t want that vision,” Rahn said.

The End-of-Life Options Act would not require doctors or hospitals to provide aid-in dying medication.

“Proponents of this legislation call it dying with dignity. But the Catholic Church hardly considers it dignified to go against God’s plan, and choose the time and method of one’s death,” Malone said.

Sources in Albany tell news 4 it is unlikely the bill will pass this session, but that is a big talker in the Heatlh Committee.

Compassion and Choices, a national nonprofit dedicated to expanding end-of-life options, recently led 100 Volunteers in Albany to advocate for the bill; among them, was Reverend Doctor William H. Levering, Senior Pastor at the First Reformed Church in Schenectady.

Though religious, Levering believes aid-in-dying options should be available in New York.

“As a pastor, I am called to care for people at the end of life, and so I am called to the issue of aid in dying. We all seek dignity during life, and we should have it at the end,” he said.

Most public opinion polls show support for aid-in-dying legislation is around 70 percent.

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