By Judie Brown
During his Respect Life homily, Bishop Samuel Aquila stated that “if dignity does not exist at . . . the beginning and the end [of life] it will not exist in between.”
These profound words are urgently needed today as we contemplate our role in God’s plan. To the right and to the left of us, tragedy is occurring, and it would seem that few notice it.
In Washington state right now, lawmakers are working to expand the assisted suicide law so that others—not just physicians—are permitted to prescribe lethal drugs to those who request them. In addition, they are considering eliminating a 15-day waiting period and replacing it with one that is just 72 hours. Similar legislation has been proposed in Hawaii to reduce “the reflection period to 15 days and then [allow] the reflection period to be waived if the requester is deemed to be nearing death,” to allow “registered nurses to also approve and prescribe lethal assisted suicide drugs,” and to allow “clinical social workers to counsel people with questionable consent.” One supposes that these suggested changes are proposed so that more suffering and depressed patients will die sooner.
Not only that, but in California, Do Not Resuscitate orders are becoming meaningless to some medical practitioners. Disability rights activist Carol Cleigh Sutton writes of her personal experience in “DNR: Choice or Medical Murder”: “Two years ago, I flew to California to be with my brother-in-law whom the hospital believed would not live through the night. Almost the moment I arrived, they started applying the strongest pressure I’ve ever encountered to try to get a DNR from us, even indicating that refusing the DNR wouldn’t matter because they would not perform CPR anyway. In other words, they had already placed a clearly illegal, unwanted de-facto DNR on him.”
What sort of medical practice do you call these examples? Clearly Archbishop Aquila is correct.
And yet miracles are happening as well, including the valiant fight for the life of Baby Tinslee, whose medical care appears to be a challenge to the very people allegedly caring for her. Recently, the United States Supreme Court sided with Baby Tinslee, whose life hangs in the balance because of the Texas 10-Day Rule, which could have resulted in Tinslee’s death had the courts not intervened.
In South Dakota, Governor Kristi Noem is defending the right to life of babies who have Down syndrome. Governor Noem took time in her State of the State address to call on the state legislature to prohibit abortions chosen because the baby has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. Referencing the Declaration of Independence, she said: “I look forward to the day when the Supreme Court recognizes that all preborn children inherently possess this right to life, too. . . . Until that time comes, I am asking the South Dakota legislature to pass a law that bans the abortion of a preborn child, just because that child is diagnosed with Down syndrome.”
So you see, while many disrespect and devalue innocent human beings from their creation by God until their death, others are fighting to protect and preserve those lives.
This is our hope, our inspiration, and our reason for continuing the fight.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that hope is a weapon that protects us in the struggle for salvation. It states: “‘Let us . . . put on the breastplate of faith and charity, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.’ It affords us joy even under trial: ‘Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation.’”
Archbishop Aquila’s inspiring words echo this truth as he reminds us:
Jesus and Jesus alone will save the world. It is not humanity. Human beings can never create a perfect world, and it is delusional to think so. It is only when our hearts and minds are formed and configured to the order of God, as revealed in Scripture, that there will be true peace in the world.
Christ is our hope. Let us always remember to rely on Him.