Long-shot Democratic gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur has come out in favor of physician-assisted suicide.
The Baltimore Sun reports:
“If terminally ill, mentally competent adults choose to end their life, they should be able to seek a life-ending dose of medicine from their physician,” Mizeur said in a policy proposal released late Tuesday.
Three states — Oregon, Washington, and Vermont — have similar policies, dubbed by advocates “Death with Dignity” laws.
Mizeur, a Democrat from Montgomery County, outlined her call for legalization of doctor-assisted suicide along with ideas to help seniors as they retire, age, get sick and approach death.
Here’s what F. Michael Gloth, III, an Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of Outpatient Services
in the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at Johns Hopkins, has written on physician-assisted suicide:
Catholic teaching condemns physician-assisted suicide because it, like murder, involves taking an innocent human life…
Policy makers and the public are not always receptive to appeals to Catholic moral teaching. Fortunately, well-established principles of medicine and bioethics provide sound and abundant grounds for opposing physician-assisted suicide.
McGloth goes on to discuss many of the medical reasons to oppose physician-assisted suicide. He also points out that both the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians oppose the practice.
McGloth closes with this:
There is, of course, a final reason to advocate for physician-assisted suicide. It is cheaper to kill a person than to provide care. Yet a physician’s first obligation is to “Do No Harm.” Until that is replaced with “Save more money,” it will be difficult to support physician-assisted suicide.
It’s not like anyone pro-life would be supporting Mizeur anyway, but this announcement reinforces the fact that the Democratic gubernatorial field is hostile to the protection of human life in Maryland.
Mizeur has been endorsed by Emily’s List in the race for Governor and in previous bids for office. Her gubernatorial campaign has also been endorsed by the Maryland National Organization for Women PAC – in part because of her position on abortion.
In 2006 Mizeur said:
I fully support a woman’s right to choice and reproductive freedom.
Mizeur has served as a volunteer advisor to Community Clinic, Inc. which offers family planning services, which may or may not include abortion referrals. In 2011, she received the Choice Advocate Award from NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and in other election years she consistently has received 100% ratings from the group.
Her current campaign website makes little mention of the issue other than saying she was behind the Family Planning Works Act which she says will reduce abortions (Not that we will ever find out for sure since the State of Maryland no longer tracks abortion-related statistics.)
Mizeur’s position on same-sex marriage (including her own marriage to another woman) is also another place she goes against church teachings.
Mizeur’s campaign biographies in the past have noted that she is Catholic and attends St. Aloysius, which she referred to once as a “progressive Jesuit parish.” She was named to a list of 12 Catholic Women Under 40 Making A Difference by National Catholic Reporter, a source that even USA Today referred to as a liberal outlet. Her current campaign biography makes no mention of her faith.
In 1998, The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops noted that:
“Catholics who are privileged to serve in public leadership positions have an obligation to place their faith at the heart of their public service, particularly on issues regarding the sanctity and dignity of human life.” (12) They then declared: “We urge those Catholic officials who choose to depart from the Church teaching on the inviolability of human life in their public life to consider the consequences for their own spiritual well-being, as well as the scandal they risk by leading others into serious sin. We call on them to reflect on the grave contradiction of assuming public office and presenting themselves as credible Catholics when their actions on fundamental issues of human life are not in agreement with Church teaching“. Concluding this passage they then solemnly proclaimed: “No public official, especially one claiming to be a faithful and serious Catholic, can reasonably advocate for or actively support direct attacks on innocent human life…. no appeal to policy, procedure, majority will or pluralism ever excuses a public official from defending life to the greatest extent possible”. [emphasis added]
There have been some, including bishops with the authority to do something about it , who have argued that Catholics in public office who support abortion (or physician-assisted suicide) should be excommunicated or denied communion. I won’t sidetrack this discussion by delving into the debate debate right now.
I will just echo the above sentiments from the USCCB, especially the statement calling on public officials “to reflect on the grave contradiction of assuming public office and presenting themselves as credible Catholics when their actions on fundamental issues of human life are not in agreement with Church teaching.”