Outside groups with big funding have picked Colorado as the next battleground for physician-assisted suicide.
Coloradans’ testimonies defeated House Bill 1054, “End-of-Life Options for Terminally Ill Individuals,” which sought to legalize physician-assisted suicide in the state. However, pro-physician-assisted suicide groups
are scheming to raise the issue again in November.
Information about this campaign is being printed for parish bulletins.
Susan Selner-Wright, associate professor at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, said that Colorado is targeted by groups that want to see physician-assisted suicide legalized nationally.
“They are in Colorado because Colorado looks like a good place for this [physician-assisted suicide] to move to, and that makes it a jumping point for more states. It has nothing to do with the welfare of Colorado,” she said.
Some of these groups are even hiring people to get signatures to put physician-assisted suicide on the
ballot. This is because article five of the Colorado state constitution allows for issues to go to the ballot if enough
electors sign a petition. In this case, they need 98,500 signatures.
The groups championing physician-assisted suicide may use deceptive phrasing such as “compassion” and “choice” while collecting signatures, Selner-Wright said.
“As a citizen of Colorado, I don’t think that the provisions in the constitution that allow a certain number of signatures to get an issue on the ballot should be exploited this way,” she said.
Opponents of physician-assisted suicide worry that legalizing it could have negative effects on the most vulnerable in society, such as the elderly and handicapped.
“I think that the whole death with dignity movement really poisons our culture, really pushes people to buy into
the idea that if you’re a burden, you’re better off dead,” Selner-Wright said.
She said she fears what legalized physician-assisted suicide could do to those who are no longer productive.
“I have a developmentally disabled child that people urged me to get rid of before she was born. Now that
she’s here, people are tripping over themselves to welcome her. But if she caught something or was going to cost a lot of money, then it would probably go back to the argument for removing her,” she said.
Signature-collectors will likely be present at large events and outside of high-traffic areas like grocery stores.