(CNS) -- Assisted suicide and abortion remain the focus of the U.S. Conference
of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, according to Cardinal
Timothy M. Dolan of New York, the committee chairman.
those issues was being taken up by the
American Medical Association House of Delegates as the U.S. bishops held their fall general assembly in
Baltimore Nov. 13-14.
Regarding assisted suicide, the AMA House of Delegates at its own
meeting was holding a forum to get more input on whether the AMA's
position against assisted suicide should be one of "neutrality." The AMA
Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs has been studying the issue.
light of the complex and deeply contested nature of the issues at stake, CEJA
believes it is wisest to proceed cautiously and allow ample time for thoughtful
reflection in developing its report," the AMA has said.
continue, in collaboration with other groups, to provide CEJA with compelling
reasons to maintain the AMA's long-held opposition to assisted suicide,"
Cardinal Dolan said in a report submitted in advance of the bishops' meeting. "Similar efforts continue with state-level
medical associations to urge them to maintain or adopt opposition to assisted
In his remarks Nov. 13, the first day of the USCCB meeting, Cardinal
Dolan lauded the bishops' longtime collaboration with the National Committee
for a Human Life Amendment. "They have been with us for 45 years," since the
1973 Supreme Court decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton that allowed
legal abortion virtually on demand, Cardinal Dolan told his fellow bishops.
committee's Human Life Action arm was busy over the past year, issuing alerts
urging Congress to pass the Conscience Protection Act, and urging the House
Appropriations Committee to nullify a District of Columbia law permitting
assisted suicide. It also sought activists to ask senators to include protection
for the unborn in their efforts to overhaul the nation's healthcare system, and
to urge the Trump administration to issue an executive order to protect
in August was a "condensed, tweetable" version of the anti-assisted
video "John's Story: Beyond Independence." "Born without arms, John
Foppe speaks to a way of life beyond independence, namely
inter-dependence: Together we are more," says a promo for the video.
The video is part of an initiative intended to foster greater respect for those with
disabilities, help assuage people's fears of becoming debilitated, and cultivate a stronger
coalition with leaders in the disability rights community.
"The young and healthy get suicide prevention
... while the sick and disabled get suicide assistance. Assisted suicide: an
alarming double standard," says one of the initiative's messages. "Legalizing assisted suicide sends
a clear message: You're better off dead than disabled," says another. "That's
not autonomy, that's discrimination."
Life Action educated and mobilized the grass-roots on the Conscience Protection
Act through its Take Action Sunday initiatives," Cardinal Dolan said. The USCCB
Office of Government Relations identified five states -- Alaska, Indiana, Maine,
Pennsylvania and West Virginia -- as deserving of greater focus due to the possibility
of "garnering the support of key senators in those states" for the conscience bill, he added.
2017-18 Respect Life program with the theme "Be Not Afraid" was unveiled in
October, and planning was already underway for the 2018-19 Respect Life
program, Cardinal Dolan said.
also are firming up for the annual "9 Days for Life" prayer and action campaign slated for
Jan. 18-26. It is held at that time to wrap around the Roe v. Wade anniversary and
the annual March for Life in Washington with affiliated marches around the
"One of the intentions will highlight the fundamental relationship
between concern for migrants and refugees and respect for all human life,"
Cardinal Dolan said.
round of training for the Project Rachel Ministry for post-abortion pastoral
care and outreach is scheduled for Feb. 19-22 in Washington.
training will focus on the central role of the sacrament of reconciliation, the
theology of forgiveness, the unique role of the church in post-abortion healing
ministry, and how to make the ministry known in a diocese as a work of
evangelization," Cardinal Dolan said.