Catholic group urges 'no' vote to assisted-suicide bill, citing lack of safeguards

The New Jersey Catholic Conference wants parishioners to get state legislators to vote no on the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, which would allow adult residents to obtain a prescription for life-ending drugs if a doctor has determined they have six months or less to live.

The Catholic group said in a statement: “In the states that have passed assisted suicide bills (California, Vermont and Oregon) insurance companies have denied individuals healthcare coverage but offered them low cost drugs to end their life.”

Opponents say these laws lack safeguards to protect against abuse.

“In an era of cost control and managed care, patients with lingering illnesses may be branded as a financial liability for the insurance company, and decisions to encourage death could be driven by reducing costs,” The New Jersey Catholic Conference added in its statement to Fox News.

Currently, assisted suicide — referred to as “Death with Dignity” or “Medical Aid in Dying” laws — is legal in seven states and Washington, D.C., as The Winchester Star reported last month.

Oregon had 37.2 assisted suicide deaths per 10,000 total deaths in 2016.

Oregon and the neighboring state of Washington each have had fewer than 200 assisted suicide deaths per year.

“Medical science is called to eradicate the illnesses from which we suffer — not to eradicate the patients who suffer the illnesses. Our duty is to assist those who are dying — not kill them,” the New Jersey Catholic Conference wrote to the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee, which is expected to vote Thursday on the act.