A person doesn’t have to be religious to know that doctor-prescribed suicide and euthanasia are wrong; because the natural law, the innate knowledge of right and wrong, says it is.
“The natural moral law is written on every human heart and is known by reason alone,” explained Gregory LaPoint, founder of the Center for Natural Law, a Denver-based advocacy organization. “The first principle of the natural law is ‘to do good and avoid evil,’ all other primary and secondary prescriptions or proscriptions are organically derived from this moral pinnacle.”
After the much-reported doctor-prescribed suicide of 29-year-old terminal cancer patient Brittany Maynard in Oregon last fall, two Colorado legislators said they are drafting a bill to make doctor-prescribed suicide legal here. Five states currently permit it: Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont and New Mexico.
But suicide is contrary to human nature, which seeks to preserve life, said LaPoint, a Catholic with a master’s degree in theology who started the center two years ago to promote natural law as the answer to society’s ills.
“We want to live, we relish life and we have a thirst and a zest for it,” he said. “Life is good and we see it as a good. Dead isn’t something we strive to be, alive is what we strive to be.
“Euthanasia,” he added, “is a clear and obvious violation of natural law. It’s a serious wrong for any state to legislate permissible euthanasia.”
Humans have an intrinsic dignity and value that shows in rational thought, an appreciation for truth, beauty, good and the ability to love. It isn’t altered by stage of development, capabilities, infirmities or dependencies.
“We have these transcendent qualities that elevate us beyond the rest of the created order,” LaPoint said. “There’s an inherent dignity and value and worth to the human person, therefore, we can’t kill ourselves or authorize killing.”
The right-to-die movement, however, reduces humans to their “functionality” or “quality of life.”
“(For them) it’s only if you function well or think well that somehow you are a person,” LaPoint said. “(Natural law says) we’re capable of medical treatment and palliative care and we should care.”
Places that have legalized doctor-prescribed suicide or euthanasia have seen abuses, LaPoint warned. In Belgium, euthanasia was legalized in 2002 for terminal patients but has been used for other reasons, including blindness, said researchers. There, many of the 1,400 euthanasia deaths a year are carried out illegally by nurses and a third are involuntary, Catholic News Service reported. Just last year, Belgium became the first nation to allow euthanasia for small children.
“Although in the beginning (euthanasia proponents) say the person will make the decision themselves, years later … all of sudden other people start making those decisions,” LaPoint said.
“Modern society has divorced the natural law from civil law, in many instances, and even from divine law, in some instances,” he continued. “Natural law offers the rational explanation for respecting life while rejecting abortion, embryonic destructive research and euthanasia … based on logical grounds.”
For more about the Center for Natural Law, visit www.CenterForNaturalLaw.org or call 303-759-3599.
>> Free events coming up
Social to include a talk by Gregory LaPoint, hors d’oeuvres and drinks (cash bar)
7 p.m.-9 p.m. Jan. 24 | Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Place, Denver
Natural law presentation by Gregory LaPoint
After 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. Masses Feb. 22 | Good Shepherd Parish, 2626 E. Seventh Ave. Parkway, Denver