Proposition 106: Assisted suicide on the Colorado ballot

Proposition 106: Assisted suicide on the Colorado ballot

People in pain deserve our sympathy and concern—not death


One of the very worst of the nine state-wide initiatives on the November ballot in Colorado is Proposition 106—Medical aid in dying, also known by the less marketable name of physician-assisted suicide. Having failed to get an assisted suicide bill through the legislature two years running, proponents have now turned to the initiative process.

There’s a more common name for assisted suicide: murder. Currently in Colorado, aiding a person in ending his or her life is a crime of felony manslaughter.

There are some rudimentary safeguards built into the bill. The person requesting deadly drugs must be 18 or older, be mentally competent and have a terminal illness with a prognosis of six months or less to live.

The question, however, does not turn on the specific “safeguards” in the act—which could change over time—but rather the moral question of whether society should help people to commit suicide.

The answer to suffering and terminal illness should be compassion, hospice and palliative care, not death.

The Catholic Church is clear on the issue: suicide is a mortal sin. Not surprisingly, they are leading the opposition to Proposition 106. The Archdiocese of Denver has contributed $1.1 million to the effort to defeat the initiative.

Not just Catholics, but all Christians and others who believe that live is the gift of God and therefore sacred, should have no trouble voting “No” on 106.

The moral hazard is greater than just condoning suicide. If someone is determined to end their life, it is ultimately impossible to prevent it. What a bill such as this does, however, is require the participation of physicians in the process—physicians who have taken an oath to “first, do no harm.”

The federal government has no problem forcing physicians to perform abortions. Now, at the other end of life, physicians will be asked by the state to be complicit in suicide.

Not only will physicians come under increasing pressure, but the elderly and the disabled will be as well.

We’re not talking about Nazi Germany, where the elderly and disabled were euthanized to make room in the hospitals for the war-wounded. In Vermont, where assisted suicide is legal, an elderly woman was encouraged at her rehab center to commit suicide. Her “disease”? A broken wrist.

Healthcare is expensive; death is free.

Supporting this bill are those who want to keep health care costs down as a matter of public policy. Ironically, these are generally also the people who want socialized medicine in the first place.

On Colorado’s ballot is also Amendment 69, which would create a new and independent governmental entity to administer all healthcare in the state. The costs will be astronomical. How convenient if those costs could be at least partially contained through assisted suicide.

Which prominent state politicians support Proposition 106? Democrats: Gov. Hickenlooper, Senators Guzman (a single-payer healthcare advocate) and Merrifield and other current and former officials. The lone Republican is former Sen. Greg Brophy.

Besides a number of organization formed specifically to push the initiative, such reliably liberal organizations as NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado and ProgressNow Colorado are on the list of supporters.

Organizations opposing include Focus on the Family and Colorado Christian University, as well as the Archdiocese of Denver and the Diocese of Colorado Springs.

To repeat: those in pain or with a terminal diagnosis deserve our help and support, not death.

While Progressives are lined up on the side of death, in Wisconsin—where progressivism had its start—U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is lining up on the side of life.

He is the sponsor of the Trickett Wendler Right to Try Act. Wendler, a Milwaukee mother of three young children, had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, also known as "Lou Gehrig's disease." There is no cure.

Instead of giving in to her terminal diagnosis, Wendler fought for every remaining day of her life. The Act would keep the federal government from prohibiting the production and prescription of experimental drugs that have cleared the first phase of the FDA approval process.

Thirty-two states have such a bill. Instead of passing an initiative to give people more options to kill themselves, Colorado should be debating a right to try bill.

In the U.S. Senate, Johnson’s bill is being blocked by none other than Harry Reid.

Thus the party that claims to “care about people,” backs such measures as assisted suicide and abortion and opposes people’s efforts to extend their lives.

But this isn’t primarily a partisan issue; it’s a moral one.

No one with a conscience and a belief in the sacredness of human life can vote for this initiative. Our representatives in Denver killed it two years running and we the people should, too.